Francisco Bernard is an 18-year-old male client who was brought to the emergency department, or ED, after his father witnessed him suddenly go rigid, lose consciousness, and fall to the floor.
His arms and legs immediately began to jerk rapidly, then slow and eventually stop. Afterwards, Francisco was confused and lethargic with no memory of what happened.
Upon arrival in the ED Francisco was awake but disoriented. He was transferred to the neurological unit where he was diagnosed with epilepsy. A seizure is a sudden event that occurs due to abnormal, excessive, and synchronous firing from neurons in the brain.
This manifests as a change in the client's level of consciousness, body movements, sensation, or autonomic functions, that usually last for a few seconds or minutes.
Seizures can be triggered by stress, tiredness, and lack of sleep. High fever, especially in young children, as well as infections like meningitis, encephalitis, or brain abscess, can also result in seizures.
Also, withdrawal of certain substances like alcohol, cocaine, benzodiazepines and barbiturates may cause seizures. During pregnancy, seizures can be provoked by eclampsia, which occurs in the setting of high blood pressure.
Now, epilepsy is when a client has two or more seizures separated by at least 24 hours. A very important risk factor for epilepsy is family history.