10 Symptoms of Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a disorder that affects the central nervous system and causes abnormal brain activity. This results in seizures, loss of awareness, unusual behavior, and other symptoms. The condition affects men and women of all races and ethnicities, and it can develop at any age. Many children with the condition will stop experiencing symptoms in their adulthood, and some adults will also become seizure-free after a few years. Others will continue experiencing seizures for their entire lives, though. Fortunately, most symptoms can be managed with medication.

There are many different types of seizures, but doctors usually divide the condition into four main types. Generalized epilepsy causes seizures that affect both sides of the brain, and focal epilepsy causes seizures that affect one particular brain region. The third type, generalized and focal epilepsy, causes both generalized and focal seizures. If your doctor isn’t sure whether the seizures are generalized or focal, you’ll be diagnosed with “unknown if generalized or focal epilepsy.” Doctors usually use an EEG to diagnose the condition and determine which type you have. Sometimes, it’s obvious when someone has epilepsy. However, the condition is often misdiagnosed. Understanding the signs and symptoms will help you notice the condition in yourself or in someone else. Here are 10 of the most common signs of epilepsy:

1. Fainting

Fainting is often one of the first symptoms of epilepsy to develop. However, it’s important to understand the difference between fainting and seizures, the most noticeable sign of the condition. Usually, when someone with epilepsy appears to faint, they’re actually having a seizure. Some people experience seizures and fainting at the same time, but the two are very different events. Fainting, or syncope, occurs when your brain doesn’t get receive enough blood and oxygen. This sometimes happens in response to stress, fear, standing for too long, or being exposed to extreme heat. Your blood vessels in your legs will widen and your blood pressure will drop, which will cause blood to pool in your legs.

If the lack of oxygen to the brain becomes severe enough, you’ll lose consciousness and collapse. Many people experience lightheadedness, confusion, nausea, and blurred vision shortly before they faint. Most people regain consciousness within a few seconds or minutes, but they should lie down for at least 15 minutes to recover. Fainting is very common and is not always a sign of epilepsy, but you should look out for the other symptoms of the condition if you or someone else faints. You should get medical attention right away if you hit your head while collapsing.