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What are epileptic seizures and what causes them?

What are epileptic seizures and what causes them?

With around 87 people diagnosed with epilepsy in the UK every day, the neurological condition affects roughly 600,000 people nationwide.

Most people diagnosed with epilepsy never know what caused it, however, some common causes of epilepsy can be as a result of a stroke, a severe head injury, brain infection, or being starved of oxygen during birth.

What are epileptic seizures and what are the common causes of them?

The cells in our brain send messages to each other via constant electrical activity. A seizure occurs when there’s a sudden burst of intense electrical activity in the brain. This causes a temporary disruption to the way the brain normally communicates, resulting in an epileptic seizure.

There are many different types of seizures. What happens to someone during a seizure depends on which part of their brain is affected. During some types of seizure, the person may remain alert and aware of what’s going on around them, and with other types, they may lose awareness. Other symptoms include:

  • uncontrollable jerking and shaking – called a "fit"
  • losing awareness and staring blankly into space
  • becoming stiff
  • strange sensations – such as a "rising" feeling in the tummy, unusual smells or tastes, and a tingling feeling in your arms or legs
  • collapsing

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