h. Circulatory Disturbances. Vascular disorders that interfere with cerebral
circulation causing neuronal anoxia will cause a seizure. Examples of such vascular
disorder include hemorrhage, embolus, or thrombosis.
i. Neoplasms. These are new and abnormal formations of tissue such as a
tumor or growth.
CLASSIFICATION OF EPILEPTIC SEIZURES
Types of epileptic seizures you are most likely to encounter include the following:
a. Petit Mal Seizures. The tendency to this type of seizure is usually inherited.
The classic petit mal seizure (also called absence seizure) is characterized by three
phases: a sudden vacant expression or stare; stopping any motor activity (akinetic
seizure); and myoclonic jerks (contraction and relaxation of muscles) with or without
loss of muscle tone. These seizures are very brief (lasting from one to three seconds),
and the individual may have as many as 100 of these seizures a day. These seizures
are so brief that often the person looks like he is daydreaming or staring. His eyelids
may flutter rapidly. Immediately after his attack, the individually returns to his normal
activity. The episode is so brief that often neither the patient nor those around him
notice anything unusual. The seizure may occur with or without loss of muscle tone.
The person's eyes may rotate upward briefly, and he may blink his eyes. His head may
droop but rarely fall. Fingers and hands may contract and relax. Usually, he is not
incontinent. Petit mal seizures occur mainly in children from three to ten years of age.
Such seizures almost never occur in anyone over age 20. If such a seizure does occur,
it indicates the presence of organic brain disease. A child with this type of seizure may
have grand mal epilepsy as he grows older.
b. Focal Seizures. These seizures are also called Jacksonian seizures, simple
seizures, and partial seizures. Motor, sensory, or autonomic functions may be affected.
The part or parts of the body affected indicate the particular place in the cerebrum
where a lesion is located, the lesion causing the seizure. The seizures are localized or
on only one side of the body. The person's head and eyes may turn to one side.
Jerking limbs will be on only one side of the body. If the seizure progresses to a
generalized convulsion, the person may become unconscious, and the attack may
develop into a full grand mal seizure.
c. Grand Mal Seizures. This type of seizure (also called generalized seizure,
major seizure, and tonic-clonic seizure) usually lasts two to three minutes but may last
as long as ten to fifteen minutes. A person may suffer a grand mal seizure and a petit
mal seizure at the same time. There are four phases to a grand mal seizure: the
prodromal phase, the tonic phase, the clonic phase, and the postictal phase.