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Seizures in Children (cont.)

What Causes Seizures in Children?

Although seizures have many known causes, for most children, the cause remains unknown. In many of these cases, there is some family history of seizures. The remaining causes include infections such as meningitis, developmental problems such as cerebral palsy, head trauma, and many other less common causes.

About one fourth of the children who are thought to have seizures are actually found to have some other disorder after a complete evaluation. These other disorders include fainting, breath-holding spells, night terrors, migraines, and psychiatric disturbances.

The most common type of seizure in children is the febrile seizure, which occurs when an infection associated with a high fever develops.

Other reasons for seizures are these:

  • Infections
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Drugs
  • Medications
  • Poisons
  • Disordered blood vessels
  • Bleeding inside the brain
  • Many yet undiscovered problems

What Are Different Types of Symptoms in Child Seizures?

Seizures in children have many different types of symptoms. A thorough description of the type of movements witnessed, as well as the child's level of alertness, can help the doctor determine what type of seizure your child has had.

  • The most dramatic symptom is generalized convulsions. The child may undergo rhythmic jerking and muscle spasms, sometimes with difficulty breathing and rolling eyes. The child is often sleepy and confused after the seizure and does not remember the seizure afterward. This symptom group is common with grand mal (generalized) and febrile seizures.
  • Children with absence seizures (petit mal) develop a loss of awareness with staring or blinking, which starts and stops quickly. There are no convulsive movements. These children return to normal as soon as the seizure stops.
  • Repetitive movements such as chewing, lip smacking, or clapping, followed by confusion are common in children suffering from a type of seizure disorder known as complex partial seizures.
  • Partial seizures usually affect only one group of muscles, which spasm and move convulsively. Spasms may move from group to group. These are called march seizures. Children with this type of seizure may also behave strangely during the episode and may or may not remember the seizure itself after it ends.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/18/2016
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

First Seizure: Pediatric Perspective »

The incidence of first unprovoked seizures in children younger than age 15 is estimated tobe 124 per 100,000 person-years.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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