First seizure event

If you or a loved one has recently had a seizure for the first time, you know that this can be a frightening and confusing experience. Using the resources below, you can learn more about seizures and their risk factors, the different seizure types and how age can influence the risk of having a seizure.

  • What is a seizure?

    A seizure is the abnormal electrical release by cells, called neurons, in the brain. This can cause different symptoms based on the location of the seizure and where the abnormal electrical activity spreads. Not all seizures are the same. They can range from tingling in a finger to grand mal (generalized) seizures, during which people lose consciousness, become stiff, and jerk.

  • What is the difference between seizures and epilepsy?

    Seizures are a symptom of epilepsy. Epilepsy is the underlying tendency of the brain to release electrical energy that disrupts other brain functions. So the seizure is the symptom of this underlying condition. Having a single seizure does not necessarily mean a person has epilepsy.

  • Causes & risks of seizures

    Epilepsy can result from a birth defect, birth or head injury, brain tumour, or an infection in the brain. It can also be inherited. But for many people with epilepsy, a cause cannot be found. Epilepsy is not contagious. Epilepsy can occur for the first time at any age.

  • Different types of seizures

    Seizures can last from a few seconds to a few minutes and are characterized by a variety of symptoms. These can range from simple blank staring to jerking limb movements, convulsions and a brief loss of consciousness.

  • Seizures in different age groups

    What causes seizures in different age groups?
    Seizures that occur early in life usually result from problems before birth. Many seizures in children are related to complex genetic causes or to infection. Head injury can cause seizures at any age but this is most likely in young adults. Brain tumours, strokes, and injury are important causes of seizures in adults. Cerebrovascular events – such as stroke – are a common cause of new seizures late in life.