Focal Onset Seizures Causes and Symptoms
Focal onset seizures causes and symptoms may affect the entire brain. It is also known as a partial seizure, which is when a seizure begins in just one area. A focal onset seizure may occur due to several reasons such as epilepsy, brain tumors, head trauma, stroke, infections, and other triggers.
The human brain works by sending electrical signals through neurons, which are nerve cells. A seizure occurs when there’s a sudden burst of chaotic electrical activity. This causes a host of physical symptoms, like muscle contractions, visual disturbances, and blackouts.
What are the Causes of Focal Onset Seizures?
Nerve cells in the brain create, send and receive electrical impulses, which allow the brain’s nerve cells to communicate. Anything that disrupts these communication pathways can lead to a seizure. Sometimes seizures may be caused or triggered by:
- Aneurysms and irregular heart rhythms
- Brain tumors, concussion, and traumatic brain injury.
- Degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease
- Drug or alcohol withdrawal.
- Fevers, especially high ones
- Genetic disorders
- Hormone-related changes and
- Inflammation from immune system disorders
- Insomnia and other sleep-related problems
- Metabolic problems
- Problems with your brain
- Strokes or transient ischemic attacks
Symptoms of Focal Onset Seizures
- Hallucinations or seeing bright lights
- Muscle contractions followed by relaxation
- Unusual head movements
- Unusual eye movements
- Numbness and tingling
- Rapid heart rate
- Abdominal pain
- Automatisms such as lip smacking, and chewing or swallowing
- Flushed face, sweating, and nausea
- Dilated pupils and vision changes
- Blackouts and mood changes
How to Diagnose Focal Onset Seizures?
After a seizure, your doctor may order several tests to determine the cause of your seizure and evaluate how likely it is that you’ll have another one. Tests may include:
- A neurological exam. To determine whether you have a brain or nervous system problem, your doctor may test your behavior, motor abilities, and mental function.
- Blood tests. An electrolyte imbalance, infection, or genetic condition can be detected in a blood sample taken by your doctor.
- Lumbar puncture. A sample of cerebrospinal fluid may need to be removed for testing if your doctor suspects an infection as the cause of the seizure.
- An electroencephalogram. The EEG may reveal a pattern that tells doctors whether a seizure is likely to occur again. EEG testing may help your doctor exclude other conditions that mimic epilepsy as a reason for your seizure.
- Magnetic resonance imaging. Your doctor may be able to detect lesions or abnormalities in your brain that could lead to seizures.
- Computerized tomography. It can detect tumors, bleeding, and cysts in the brain that might cause seizures.
- Single-photon emission computerized tomography. It creates a detailed map of the blood flow activity in your brain that happens during a seizure.
Zonisep for Treatment of Focal Onset Seizures
Zonisep is a prescription medication used in controlling and preventing partial-onset seizures. It is used together with other medications to treat seizures. Zonisep works by blocking the calcium and sodium channels in the brain and stabilizing the electrical activity. Other treatment includes:
- Dietary therapy
- Electrical stimulation