What is a Brain Seizure?

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  • Written By: Steve R.
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2019
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A brain seizure, which can last from several seconds to 15 minutes, is a sudden or unusual change in brain activity that results in a host of physical symptoms, such as convulsions, shortness of breath, and loss of consciousness. Anything that causes a sudden reduction of delivery of oxygen or blood to the brain may lead to a brain seizure. In some cases, reasons for a seizure are never determined. Typically, a brain seizure is an indication of another medical issue, such as change in blood sugar, various diseases, head injury, or drug overdose.

In some instances, symptoms of a seizure may be unrecognizable or unalarming, such as a staring spell. Usually, there are more noticeable symptoms, which may include periods of amnesia and severe mood swings. A person experiencing a seizure may see flashing lights or see things that do not exist. Other symptoms may affect the muscles, such as a loss of muscle control or tightening of the muscles that result in a twisting of limbs or the upper body.

When a person experiences a brain seizure, he will typically have trouble breathing. A seizure may be so severe that it causes the person to turn blue and pass out. In some instances, a person experiencing a seizure may undergo twitching throughout the body or have a sour or metallic taste in the mouth.


Often times, a brain seizure may be a symptom of a temporary condition. This is often the case when the cause is exposure to certain drugs, high fever, or changes in sodium or glucose levels. Once the medical condition is brought under control, seizures usually subside.

Brain seizures can also be the result of other, more serious medical problems. These may include tumors in the brain or kidneys, strokes, or Alzheimer’s disease. Other times, seizures may be related to drugs or alcohol. If a person stops drinking after heavy alcohol use or ceases taking painkillers after extended use, he may experience a seizure.

While it is impossible to totally prevent seizures, certain precautions may be taken to protect people who are prone to experiencing seizures. An individual can reduce the chances of a seizure by eating a sensible diet, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising. A person may also lower the risk of a seizure by avoiding recreational drugs and following the instructions for all prescribed medication.


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