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symptoms of epilepsy

The main symptoms of epilepsy are repeated seizures. There are some symptoms which may indicate a person has epilepsy. If one or more of these symptoms are present a medical exam is advised, especially if they recur:

  • A convulsion with no temperature (no fever).

  • Short spells of blackout, or confused memory.

  • Intermittent fainting spells, during which bowel or bladder control is lost. This is frequently followed by extreme tiredness.

  • For a short period the person is unresponsive to instructions or questions.

  • The person becomes stiff, suddenly, for no obvious reason

  • The person suddenly falls for no clear reason

  • Sudden bouts of blinking without apparent stimuli

  • Sudden bouts of chewing, without any apparent reason

  • For a short time the person seems dazed, and unable to communicate

  • Repetitive movements that seem inappropriate
  • The person becomes fearful for no apparent reason, he/she may even panic or become angry
  • Peculiar changes in senses, such as smell, touch and sound
  • The arms, legs, or body jerk, in babies these will appear as cluster of rapid jerking movements

The following conditions need to be eliminated as they may present similar symptoms, and are sometimes misdiagnosed as epilepsy:

  • A high fever with epilepsy-like symptoms
  • Fainting
  • Narcolepsy (recurring episodes of sleep during the day and often disrupted nocturnal sleep)
  • Cataplexy (a transient attack of extreme generalized weakness, often precipitated by an emotional response, such as surprise, fear, or anger; one component of the narcolepsy quadrad)

  • Sleep disorders
  • Nightmares
  • Panic attacks

  • Fugue states (a rare psychiatric disorder characterized by reversible amnesia for personal identity)
  • Psychogenic seizures (a clinical episode that looks like an epileptic seizure, but is not due to epilepsy. The EEG is normal during an attack, and the behavior is often related to psychiatric disturbance, such as a conversion disorder)

  • Breath-holding episodes (when a child responds to anger there may be vigorous crying and subsequent apnea and cyanosis - the child then stops breathing and skin color changes with loss of consciousness)



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