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    Filter Diseases & Condition

    Absence seizure

    • Overview

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      Sudden, brief lapses in consciousness characterise absence seizures and are more commonly experienced by children than adults. During a seizure, the individual may appear to be staring blankly into space for a few seconds before quickly returning to an alert state. While these seizures typically do not result in physical harm, there is a risk of injury if the person loses consciousness while driving or riding a bike. Fortunately, anti-seizure medication can often effectively manage absence seizures. Some children may also experience other types of seizures, such as generalised tonic-clonic or myoclonic seizures, but many will outgrow absence seizures by their teenage years.

    • Symptoms

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      It is essential to be aware of the symptoms of absence seizures, which may be mistaken for a momentary lack of attention. These seizures typically last around 10 seconds but can last up to 30 seconds and do not result in confusion, headaches, or drowsiness afterwards. Symptoms can include sudden cessation of activity without falling, lip-smacking, eyelid flutters, chewing motions, finger rubbing, and small movements of both hands.

      Following an absence seizure, there is no memory of the event, but if the seizure lasts longer, the individual may be aware of missed time. Some people experience many daily seizures, which can interfere with daily activities and schooling. A decline in learning ability may be the first sign of a seizure disorder.

    • When to see a doctor

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      See a doctor if your child may be having seizures, has new seizure symptoms, or seizures continue despite medication. Call emergency services if a seizure lasts more than five minutes or if there are prolonged automatic behaviours or confusion.

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    • Causes

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      Absence seizures are often caused by genetics. Seizures are caused by a surge of electrical impulses from neurons in the brain that send signals across synapses. The average electrical activity of the brain is altered in individuals with seizures. During seizures, these electrical signals repeat themselves in a three-second pattern. People with seizures may have imbalanced levels of neurotransmitters, which aid in nerve cell communication.

    • Risk factors

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      Certain factors are typically associated with children who experience absence seizures. These include the child’s age, with a higher incidence between the ages of 4 and 14. Additionally, absence seizures are more common in females. It has also been observed that around 25% of children with absence seizures have a family member who also experiences seizures.

    • Prevention

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    • *Please note that the information provided in the article is for reference purposes only. It is essential to consult a doctor before applying any of the suggestions mentioned.

    Content Details

    Medical info from Mayo Clinic, for reference only. Visit Hoan My for better advice.

    Last updated on: 07/08/2023