Seizure Clusters 101

Terms to Know

Knowing these words and phrases can help you understand seizure clusters and have productive conversations with your healthcare professional.

Aura

A sensation, such as seeing colored lights or a feeling of numbness, that may happen just before the start of a seizure.

Dravet syndrome

Also called severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy (SMEI). This describes a rare type of epilepsy in which seizures begin before the age of 1 and continue throughout life.

Epilepsy

A brain disorder that causes people to have recurring seizures. The seizures happen when nerve cells in the brain send out disrupted signals. During a seizure, people may have strange sensations and emotions or behave strangely. They may have violent muscle spasms or lose consciousness.

Brain infection, brain injury, and abnormal brain development are just some of the possible causes of epilepsy. However, very often the cause is unknown. Epilepsy is also referred to as a seizure disorder.

Epileptologist

A neurologist with advanced training who specializes in treating epilepsy.

Extratemporal epilepsy

Seizures commonly start in the parts of the brain known as the temporal lobes. Epilepsy is extratemporal when seizures start in other parts of the brain such as the frontal, parietal, or occipital lobes.

Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS)

A rare and severe type of epilepsy. Seizures typically begin in childhood and can be difficult to treat. People with LGS can experience many different types of seizures.

Neurologist

A doctor specially trained in treating conditions that affect the nervous system.

PCDH19 female epilepsy

A condition associated with severe seizures, cognitive delays, and other symptoms caused by a PCDH19 gene mutation on the X chromosome.

Port-wine stain

A reddish-purple discoloration of the skin caused by swollen blood vessels. May be a sign of a more serious condition such as Sturge-Weber syndrome.

Seizures

The physical findings or changes in behavior that result from an episode of disrupted and sudden electrical activity in the brain.

The term “seizure” is sometimes used interchangably with “convulsion.” Convulsion refers to uncontrollable and rapid shaking. It’s important to know that there are many types of seizures and some have mild symptoms. Seizures can have many causes, including medicines, high fevers, head injuries, and certain diseases. People who have recurring seizures have epilepsy.

Seizure clusters

Seizures that happen one after the other over a short period of time. There is a recovery period between each seizure and a pattern that is different from the usual seizure pattern.

Seizure disorder

A brain disorder that causes people to have recurring seizures. The seizures happen when nerve cells in the brain send out disrupted signals. During a seizure, people may have strange sensations and emotions or behave strangely. They may have violent muscle spasms or lose consciousness.

Brain infection, brain injury, and abnormal brain development are just some of the possible causes of seizure disorders. However, very often the cause is unknown. A seizure disorder is also referred to as epilepsy.

Status epilepticus

A single prolonged seizure.

Sturge-Weber syndrome

A rare, progressive condition that may cause seizures, glaucoma, and developmental delay.

Tuberous sclerosis complex

A genetic disorder of the nervous system and the skin that causes small, noncancerous tumors to form in different organs of the body. Symptoms can include seizures, delay in brain function, or lesions in the skin.

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