Types Of Seizures: What Should I Know?
As always, my disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This is what I have learned over the years through research, people I know who are epileptic, and through connecting with others via my platform on Instagram.
So let’s talk about some types of seizures...
There are different types of seizures
Typically, seizures are generalized into major groups of seizures: generalized seizures, focal seizures, and unknown onset seizures. From these 3 major categories, there are many different types of subcategory seizures.1
So, what does all this mean? Fantastic question! Generalized onset seizures mean that the seizure affects BOTH sides of a person’s brain at the same time. Next, we have focal onset seizures. You may have guessed; This means only part of a person’s brain is impacted by the seizure. Last, we have unknown onset seizures. You guessed it: The origin is unknown.
My seizure type: IGS
Currently, I am diagnosed with idiopathic generalized seizures (IGS). This means that my seizures have a strong indication of being from my genetics. When I was younger, I was diagnosed with absence seizures and basically, the IGS category incorporates absence seizures.
When I was first , it was believed that I was having on average 100 a day. I remember one of my neurologists in Alaska being excited that my brain waves were textbook for absence seizures. Which I could see as being exciting from a medical standpoint.
Have you heard of abdominal epilepsy?
Moving on, I want to tell you about another type of seizure. This type is a rare form of epilepsy, abdominal epilepsy. This is TYPICALLY in the focal onset seizure category with the subcategory of focal aware seizures.
I am in a church group and one of the mothers in the group told me about her daughter, who is an adult, recently being diagnosed. This form of epilepsy is rare to begin with. However, it is even rarer to have abdominal epilepsy as an adult. I was so intrigued by the story she told me I had to do some research!
I found several case studies while I was learning about abdominal epilepsy that follows her daughter’s story almost exactly. Like so many, she was misdiagnosed due to her abdominal pain. Later it was realized that she has abdominal epilepsy. As I stated earlier, typically this type of epilepsy is in the focal onset category. My research showed that typically it originates in the temporal lobe portion of the brain.2
Now that they know she has epilepsy her daughter can start the road of finding some peace. Hopefully, the road is short for her.
Unknown onset seizures
Last, the unknown onset seizure category. From what I understand, a patient typically gets this diagnosis when they have a seizure in their sleep, or they are not around another person, then after testing they tend to be put into either generalized or focal onset seizures.
Expanding our epilepsy knowledge increases awareness
To me, meeting people with different types of epilepsy is amazing. I learn so much from every person that I meet. I believe the differences in our types of epilepsy bring us together through understanding and growth. This knowledge also helps each of us educate, spread awareness, and advocate for others.
Until about 2 months ago I had never heard of abdominal epilepsy. Had you heard of it? Are you suffering from it? The fact that so many people get diagnosed incorrectly only prolongs a person’s suffering. Sharing, learning, and advocating are what will help get us one step closer to a cure. Or at the very least help us get closer to stopping a person’s suffering until there is a cure.
Always remember you are not alone.
Do you feel like epilepsy has taught you life lessons?