Absence seizure - Disease - Saglik Lokman

Glossary of diseases

Absence seizure

Medical name (Absence epilepsy)

Possible Symptoms

Tremor at rest Unconsciousness, short Cramps Disorientation regarding time or place Feeling faint

Short description

An absence seizure is a type of seizure that causes a short period of “blank out” or staring into space (short-term disturbance of consciousness). Like other kinds of seizures, absence seizure is caused by abnormal activity of the brain. However an absence seizure isn't characterized by falls or twitching generally known with epilepsy.

Description

Absence seizures are a generalized epileptic seizure type, described by brief lapses of awareness. The hallmark of the absence seizures is abrupt occuring and sudden-onset impairment of consciousness, interruption of ongoing activities and a blank stare. However an absence seizure isn't described by falls or twitching (myoclonies) which are generally occuring with epilepsy. It affects the complete brain (generalized) and the cause is generally speaking not known.

Occurrence and Symptoms

If the patient is speaking, speech is slowed or interrupted; if walking, he or she stands transfixed; if eating, the food will stop on its way to the mouth. Attacks last till 30 seconds and goes away as quickly as it started. There are two types of absence seizures: -Simple absence seizures: During a simple absence seizure, a person usually just stares into space for less than 10 seconds. Because they happen so quickly, it’s very easy not to notice simple absence seizures, or to confuse them with daydreaming or not paying attention. -Complex absence seizures: During a complex absence seizure, a person will make some kind of movement in addition to staring into space. Movements may include blinking, chewing, or hand gestures. A complex absence seizure can last up to 30 seconds. Absence seizures, in contrast to the majority of seizure disorders, are not followed by a period of disorientation or lethargy (postictal state).

Consequences and Treatment

The diagnosis of an absence seizure can be made by seeing the typical changes in EEG and the observation of the seizure. There are medicines that can help to prevent absence seizures. However it can be possible that multiple medication needs to be combined to have a freedom from seizures. And it’s also possible that absence seizures will go away on their own. In children, 7 out of 10 kids with absence seizures will stop having them by age of 18. Possible treatment of patients with absence seizures only are sodium valproate or ethosuximide.

Where could I go?

Neurology Pediatrics

Back to glossary
Ask a doctor now