5 Important Things to Know about Absence Seizures in Children
Absence seizures in children is just one of many faces of the epilepsy, a disorder involving imbalance of electrical and chemical exchange among brain cells sending erroneous signals across the body. At times seizures can impair only certain parts of the brain resulting in partial or focal epilepsy involving only specific body parts like legs or arms.
Here’s a highlight of the most important facts about absence seizures in children you should know about:
1. Absence seizures or also referred to as petit mals are short episodes of the loss of consciousness in children between the ages of 4-14.
2. The most common symptoms absence seizures in children manifest themselves into are staring into space, eye rolling, small hand and arm motions, eyelid fluttering and chewing-like movements of lips. These symptoms usually last between 10 to 20 seconds and end abruptly. Children very often do not realize what they have experienced and return to normal activities almost instantaneously.
3. Genetic predisposition is considered one of the main causes of seizures in children. Sometimes when children are involved in a vigorous activity and are hyperventilating it may trigger an episode of absence seizures in children. Abnormal electrical and chemical exchange among the brain cells is also considered a major root cause for such seizures.
4. Absence seizures in children, though mild in nature, are still dangerous and can cause traumatic incidents. All children suffering from them should be closely supervised while swimming, bathing, biking or doing any other potentially dangerous activities in their state.
5. Nearly 70% of adolescents suffering from absence seizures in children outgrow them usually by the age of 18 and lead a normal life afterwards. However, some patients carry on these symptoms for the majority of their life, while others develop other types of epilepsy like juvenile myoclonic epilepsy usually accompanied by much stronger symptoms like whole body convulsions.
Among a variety of currently available treatments for epilepsy in children the ketogenic diet for seizures appears to be rather interesting. Ketogenic diet for seizures was first scientifically introduced in the 1920s by a wide number of scholarly papers describing how prolonged periods of starvation or calorie restriction might have positive effect in the treatment for absence seizures in children. This diet focuses on high fat, controlled protein and minimal carbohydrate intake resulting in high levels of ketones in blood controlling the symptoms of seizures.
Talking to your child’s pediatrician will help you find the best treatment to allow your child to lead a normal life and enjoy all aspects of it.