Table of contents:
- Symptoms of Absence Crisis
- How to confirm the diagnosis
- Possible causes
- How absence crisis is treated
2023 Author: Benjamin Dyson | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 01:37
Absence seizure is a specific type of epilepsy, which causes symptoms such as sudden loss of consciousness, as if the person were disconnected from the world around them, being quiet and looking vacantly and fixedly into space, during about 10 to 30 seconds, and then quickly returning to normal alert state.
This type of epilepsy is most common in children between 4 and 12 years old, but can also occur in adults. Absence seizures do not cause physical harm and the child usually stops having seizures naturally in adolescence, however, some children may have seizures for the rest of their lives or develop other types of seizures.
Absence seizures are usually caused by abnormal activity in the brain and can be controlled with anticonvulsant medications prescribed by the neurologist.
Symptoms of Absence Crisis
The main symptoms of absence crisis are:
- Sudden loss of consciousness;
- Stop movements suddenly, without falling to the ground;
- Stare and vacant, as if out of breath or disconnected from the world;
- No response to what is said;
- Absence of reaction to stimuli;
- Pinch lips;
- Making chewing movements;
- Blink or roll your eyes;
- Make small movements with the head or with both hands;
- Rub your fingers;
Usually, the absence crisis lasts about 10 to 30 seconds, it can occur several times throughout the day and, after the crisis, the person quickly recovers the normal state of alert and continues the activity they were doing, not remembering what happened.
Absence seizures can be difficult to identify, especially in children, and can be confused with lack of attention, for example. Therefore, it is important to consult a neurologist as soon as symptoms are observed, so that the diagnosis can be made and the most appropriate treatment started.
How to confirm the diagnosis
The diagnosis of absence crisis is made by the neurologist through the evaluation of symptoms, he alth history and through the physical examination in which the doctor tests behavior, motor skills and mental function.
Also, to confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may order an electroencephalogram to assess the electrical activity of the brain. During this examination, the doctor may ask the person to breathe very quickly, as this can trigger an absence seizure.
Other tests that the doctor may order are magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography, to obtain detailed images of the brain and rule out other diseases such as stroke or brain tumor.
Absence seizure is caused by a change in the electrical activity of neurons in the brain and also by a change in the levels of brain neurotransmitters, which are substances responsible for communication between neurons.
Some factors can contribute to the development of absence seizures, such as:
- Age, being more common in children between 4 and 12 years old;
- Gender, being more frequent in girls than boys;
- Family history of absence crisis;
Also, in some cases, rapid breathing or flashing lights can trigger an absence crisis.
How absence crisis is treated
The treatment of absence seizures should be guided by the neurologist, who may indicate the use of anticonvulsant drugs, such as ethosuximide, valproic acid or lamotrigine, for example.
Normally, up to 18 years of age, absence seizures tend to stop naturally, but it is possible that the child will have absence seizures for the rest of their lives or develop other types of epilepsy. Learn more about epilepsy and how to distinguish absence seizure from autism.
In addition, as a way to help control and prevent absence seizures, the doctor may recommend a ketogenic diet, which is rich in good fats and low in carbohydrates, and should be followed with the guidance of a nutritionist.