Seizure: When to seek medical help?

By  , Expert Content
Aug 31, 2012

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Seizure is a common neurological (brain) condition that affects people of all age, race, social status and sex. Seizures in most people stop by themselves within a few minutes. Seizure, in most cases, does not cause any harm unless an injury occurs or status epilepticus develops, but if you experience repeated seizures that are not treated appropriately, the risk of injury and death increases and they may become more difficult to control. Timely and appropriate treatment of seizures can help to prevent the relapse of seizures and improve prognosis.

Consult your doctor if:

you experience a seizure for the first time (as it is a serious condition). The doctor will examine you and do tests as required to diagnose the cause of seizure. Based on the cause of seizure, appropriate treatment can be started.

you have epilepsy and continue to experience seizures even after treatment. In most people, seizures because of epilepsy are controlled with one medication, but some people may need two or more medications to control seizures. The doctor, after examination and tests, can recommend changes in medication. Medicines work by stabilising the electrical activity of the brain. Hence, it is important to take medication daily to prevent seizures.

You develop side-effects due to your anti-epileptic medications. Anti-epileptic medicines can cause many side effects some of which may be mild while others may be severe. Some of the side-effects of epilepsy drugs include blurry or double vision, fatigue, sleepiness, nausea and vomiting, skin rashes, low blood cell count, liver problems, swelling of the gums, hair loss and weight gain. Side-effects depend on the dose, type of medicine and duration of treatment. Discuss with your doctor about the possible side-effects for which you should be watchful.

you are planning for a baby. Most women with epilepsy on treatment can have a normal and successful pregnancy, however, experts say that women planning pregnancy should consult a doctor before getting pregnant, particularly if they are on medications for epilepsy. Your doctor will recommend regular blood level measurements of anti-epileptic medicines during pregnancy. Do not discontinue or change the dose of seizure medicines without your doctor’s advice.

you experience any seizure during pregnancy. In most women with epilepsy, pregnancy does not increase the frequency of seizures, however, any episode of seizure during pregnancy is considered serious.

Consult your doctor immediately or go to an emergency room if:

  • the person experiences seizures for the first time
  • any seizure lasts more than 2 to 5 minutes
  • the person does not regain consciousness or behaves abnormally after a seizure
  • the person has repeated seizures (another seizure starts after one seizure ends)
  • the person develops seizure while he or she is in water
  • the person gets injured during a seizure
  • a pregnant woman experiences seizure/s.



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