Sujatha Borra, M.D.

General Neurologist located in Tampa, FL & Wesley Chapel, FL

Epilepsy is the most common seizure disorder and the fourth most common neurological disorder, but it’s not the only cause of seizures. Seizures can occur in children and adults. When they affect you, contact Dr. Sujatha Borra, who specializes in seizure disorders and works closely with each patient to manage their problem and help them return to a full life. To learn more about seizures, call the office in Tampa, Florida.

Seizure Q & A

What is a seizure?

Seizures occur when there’s a sudden increase in your brain’s electrical activity. When you have a seizure, the nerve cells in your brain send out impulses at up to four times their normal rate, which affects the way you move, feel, and behave.

Is a seizure the same as epilepsy?

Although epilepsy is the most common cause of seizures, your seizure may develop from another problem. For example, a high fever, low blood sodium, medications, a stroke, drugs, or head trauma can all trigger a seizure.

It’s estimated that 10% of all people experience a seizure during their lifetime, but only about 1% of them have epilepsy. You’re diagnosed with epilepsy when you have two or more seizures.

What are the different types of seizures and their symptoms?

There are many types of seizures that vary in severity depending on where and how they begin in the brain. The two most common types are:

Focal seizures

These seizures occur when abnormal electrical activity is limited to one area of your brain. You may stay awake or lose consciousness.

Patients who stay awake may experience jerking motions in their arms or legs or involuntarily perform repetitive movements like hand rubbing or walking in circles. Some patients have sensory changes such as seeing flashing lights or feeling tingling sensations.

Generalized seizures

Generalized seizures occur when rapid electric discharges involve the entire brain. Although there are several types of generalized seizures with varying symptoms, the most common type is a tonic-clonic seizure.

During a tonic-clonic seizure, patients have a sudden loss of consciousness, collapse (if they weren’t lying down), and then convulsions begin. Convulsions occur when muscles rapidly and repeatedly contract and then relax, causing the jerky and shaky movement associated with seizures.

Tonic-clonic seizures usually last 1-3 minutes. When they’re over, you may feel confused, depressed, sleepy, or even irritable. A tonic-clonic seizure that lasts longer than five minutes is a medical emergency needing immediate attention.

A few examples of symptoms that occur with other types of generalized seizures include:

  • Muscles stiffen
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Repeated, jerking muscle movements
  • Twitches in arms and legs
  • No movement other than smacking lips or blinking

How are seizures treated?

The primary treatment for seizures is anti-seizure medication. Dr. Borra considers the frequency of your seizures and your overall health when choosing from the possible medications. She also works with you to identify and change lifestyle factors that may help prevent seizures, such as getting enough sleep, following an exercise routine, and managing stress.