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Health Information For Parents
People with epilepsy have repeated seizures. A seizure is caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
Although watching someone have a seizure can be scary, most seizures only last a few seconds to a few minutes. Many children with epilepsy will outgrow seizures.
There are different kinds of epilepsy, including:
The kind of epilepsy that somone has depends on the seizure type. A seizure can be:
Often, kids with epilepsy have both generalized seizures and focal seizures.
Epilepsy can be caused by infections, genetic mutations, brain injury or a tumor, abnormal blood vessels, or bleeding in the brain.
Kids with Down syndrome, autism, and some metabolic disorders also may have epilepsy. Some types of epilepsy run in families.
More than half of epilepsy cases are idiopathic, meaning there’s no clear cause, but this is changing as more genetic mutations are found.
Epilepsy in children is diagnosed by a pediatric neurologist (a doctor who specializes in brain, spine, and nervous system problems). Testing may include:
Epilepsy is usually treated with medicines. If medicines don’t control the seizures, sometimes a special diet, such as a ketogenic diet, is tried. A ketogenic (or keto) diet is a strict high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet and can sometimes reduce seizures.
For hard to control seizures, doctors may recommend vagal nerve stimulation (VNS), which is a device that stimulates the vagal nerve, or surgery.
Most kids with epilepsy can lead a normal life. To help your child live better with epilepsy, be sure he or she:
It’s important to keep your child safe during a seizure. So make sure that other adults and caregivers (family members, babysitters, teachers, coaches, etc.) know what to do.
Kids with childhood absence epilepsy (CAE) have seizures where they “blank out” for a few seconds. Most kids will outgrow CAE.
Kids with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) have seizures that start in one of the temporal lobes of the brain. Seizures usually get better with medicine.
Intractable epilepsy is when a child’s seizures can’t be controlled by medicines. Doctors may recommend surgery or other treatments for intractable seizures.
Kids with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) have one or more of several different kinds of seizures, which begin around the age of puberty.
Kids with benign rolandic epilepsy of childhood (BREC) have seizures that involve twitching, numbness, or tingling of the face or tongue.
Infantile spasms (IS) is a seizure disorder in babies. The spasms usually go away by age 4, but many babies with IS will have other kinds of epilepsy later.
Epilepsy surgery is an operation done on the brain to reduce or stop seizures.
A ketogenic diet is a strict high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that can reduce, and sometimes stop, seizures.
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) is a seizure disorder. Children with LGS have several different kinds of seizures.
What teachers should know about epilepsy, and what they can do to help students with the condition succeed in school.
A PET/MRI scan is an imaging test that combines PET and MRI in one session. It creates very detailed pictures of the inside of the body.
Although seizures can be frightening, usually they last only a few minutes, stop on their own, and are almost never life-threatening.
Febrile seizures are full-body convulsions caused by high fevers that affect young kids. Although they can be frightening, theyÂ usually stop on their own and don’t cause any other health problems.
It comes from a Greek word meaning “to hold or seize,” and seizures are what happen to people with epilepsy. Learn more about epilepsy in this article written just for kids.
The brain controls everything we do, and is often likened to the central computer within a vast, complicated communication network, working at lightning speed.
Seizures are a common symptom of epilepsy, a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Learn all about epilepsy, including what to do if you see someone having a seizure.
Seizures are caused by a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain. Find out what you need to know about seizures and what to do if your child has one.
You might hear a seizure called a convulsion, fit, or spell.
If the brain is a central computer that controls all the functions of the body, then the nervous system is like a network that relays messages back and forth to different parts of the body. Find out how they work in this Body Basics article.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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