Help! Come quick! You, the 91W20, are the first person to arrive on the scene.
You see an individual on the floor twitching and jerking uncontrollably. Would you know
what to do? Would you know how to keep the patient from injuring himself? These
questions and more will be answered in this lesson.
CAUSES OF SEIZURES AND EPILEPSY
Epilepsy is one of the most common and yet puzzling disorders of the central
nervous system. Epilepsy is a condition of the brain characterized by sudden, brief
attacks of altered consciousness, motor activity, sensory phenomena, or inappropriate
behavior. The term seizure refers to a convulsion or an attack of epilepsy. About half
the cases of epilepsy result from unknown causes. Possible causes of the other half of
the epilepsy cases include the following:
a. Disorder of the Brain. An underlying disorder of the brain which could be
structural, chemical, physiological, or a combination of all three.
b. Genetic Association Indicated by Family History. A study can be made of
other family members to see how many have had epilepsy and/or seizures.
c. Congenital Abnormalities. Rubella during pregnancy causes multiple,
congenital malformations in infants.
d. Perinatal Factors. Birth trauma and asphyxia neonatorum are important
causes of brain damage leading to epilepsy.
e. Infectious Diseases. Convulsions may accompany any acute infection of
the nervous system. An inflammatory process causing brain damage may cause
f. Toxic Factors. Lead poisoning, alcohol, and drugs can cause seizures.
Lead poisoning is most dangerous in children aged one to three years. The chronic
alcoholic is liable to have seizures, and drugs such as amphetamines can cause
g. Trauma and Physical Agents. Cerebral injuries, anoxia (cardiac arrest or
near drowning), and hyperthermia (secondary to excessive environmental temperatures