seizure type | Epilepsy NYC - Epilepsy Foundation of Metropolitan New York

When Seizure Types Change: Part I

Change in the Course and Pattern of Seizures

Many people with epilepsy can experience changes in the pattern, frequency and nature of their seizures. Such changes might mean worsening of the disorder, improvement of the condition, or have no consequences.

A change might have various causes and various consequences for each person. The epileptologist (epilepsy neurologist) can help make this distinction with the help of an accurate history and by using diagnostic methods, e.g. electroencephalogram (EEG) or imaging.

Epilepsy Types and Seizure Types

To develop a better understanding of a change, it is wise to review the different types of epilepsy and different types of seizures. Basically there are two main types of epilepsy. Eighty percent of people have Localization-Related Epilepsy (LRE) and 20 percent have Primary Generalized Epilepsy (PGE).

In LRE, seizures start in one focus in the brain. This focus can cause a brief and simple partial seizure (SPS), which manifests in different ways, depending on what part of the brain is involved. If a SPS affects alertness, it is called a Complex Partial Seizure (CPS). CPS’s are the most common manifestation of epilepsy. Both SPS’s and CPS’s can propagate to involve the whole brain and cause a generalized seizure, also known as a “Grand mal” seizure.

People with PGE experience generalized seizures, which involve the whole brain at the same time. These can be tonic-clonic (grand mal), tonic, myoclonic, atonic, or absence (petit mal) seizures. (more…)

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