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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What happens during a seizure?

    My best friend has been diagnosed with epilepsy. What happens to her during a seizure
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    Established in 1952, Epilepsy Action Australia provides education and support for people with epilepsy, their families and community, and professional groups. These services promote self-management … View Profile

    A seizure occurs when the normal pattern of electrical impulses in the brain are disrupted, which is caused by the neurons in the brain firing all at once. This can cause changes in sensation, awareness and behaviour, or sometimes convulsions, muscle spasms or loss of consciousness, depending on where the seizure starts and spreads in the brain.
    When this occurs, it is usually because the seizure has been triggered by different factors such as fatigue, physical and emotional stress and hormonal fluctuations amongst others.

    There are many different types of seizures, with the most common being tonic clonic seizures, focal seizures and absence seizures, all of which have different characteristics.

    For example, a tonic clonic seizure is characterised a loss of consciousness and jerking of the body which usually lasts approximately two minutes or less.

    An absence seizure on the other hand, is characterised by staring, loss of expression, where the person stops any activity they are doing and usually lasts up to 20 seconds.

    For further information, please visit , where you can find factsheets, resources and a free online course about epilepsy.

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