Rebecca J. Stahl, MA
happens when there are certain types of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. When two or more seizures occur, it is considered a seizure disorder (epilepsy). While there are many different types of seizures, the main categories are:
Seizure disorder is caused by abnormal brain function. While it is often difficult to identify the exact cause, factors include:
Risk factors for developing seizure disorder include:
If your child already has a seizure disorder, these factors can increase the chance of having a seizure:
There are many kinds of seizure disorders with a variety of symptoms like:
The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history and do a physical exam. Tests may include:
You will work with the doctor to choose a treatment plan that is right for your child. Options include:
There are many different kinds of medicines to treat seizure disorder. Common examples include:
If medicine does not work or the side effects are too severe, your child may need surgery. Surgery involves the removal of the seizure focus. This is the area of the brain that starts the seizure. Surgery is only an option if your child has very localized areas of the brain involved.
With VNS, a device is implanted in the chest. It provides electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve, a long nerve that runs from the brain to beyond the stomach. VNS can prevent or decrease the frequency of seizures. If this is an option for your child, he may still need to take medicine.
This is a very strict
diet. It is high in fat and low in carbohydrates and proteins. It keeps the body’s chemical balance in a state of ketosis. Ketosis decreases the frequency of seizures. If you would like your child to start this diet, talk to the doctor. Since it is a strict diet and your child needs proper nutrients, you will need to work with a dietician.
You can help your child to decrease his chance of a seizure by:
Other things to consider:
There are no known ways to prevent every type of seizure disorder. You can take steps to prevent your child from brain injuries or conditions that could lead to seizures:
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Center for Epilepsy and Seizure Education
American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Epilepsy. American Association of Neurological Surgeons website. Available at:
http://www.aans.org/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Epilepsy.aspx. Accessed July 1, 2010.
Carson-DeWitt R. Seizure disorder. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/. Updated October 2009. Accessed July 1, 2010.
Children’s Hospital Boston. Seizures and epilepsy. Children’s Hospital Boston website. Available at:
http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site1967/mainpageS1967P0.html. Accessed July 1, 2010.
Cincinnati Children’s. Epilepsy and seizures. Cincinnati Children’s website. Available at:
http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/info/neurology/diagnose/epilepsy-seizures.htm. Updated October 2009. Accessed July 1, 2010.
DynaMed Editorial Team. Epilepsy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated June 28, 2010. Accessed July 1, 2010.
Massachusetts General Hospital. Activities, safety, and first aid. Massachusetts General Hospital website. Available at:
http://www2.massgeneral.org/childhoodepilepsy/child/activities.htm. Accessed July 1, 2010.
5/6/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/: Quet F, Guerchet M, Pion SD, Ngoungou EB, Nicoletti A, Preux PM. Meta-analysis of the association between cysticercosis and epilepsy in Africa. Epilepsia.
Last reviewed June 2012 by Kari Kassir, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.