Difference Between Seizure and Stroke

Seizure vs Stroke

There are different medical conditions having similar symptoms that confuse people. Seizure and stroke are two such conditions that appear to be same and though both of them relate to abnormalities in the functioning of our brain, they have different origins and different complications. While seizures are repetitive in nature and a person who has a seizure may experience it again, a stroke is a one time event in life and may lead to the death of the person. Let us take a closer look at these medical conditions to know more about them so as to be better able to correctly identify and get the right treatment.

When the face of a person droops, his hands become weak and all motions stop suddenly, it is really difficult for people to confuse between a seizure and a stroke. Despite similarities in symptoms, the causes of both are different. When blood vessels inside the brain are temporarily blocked, tissues of brain are starved as they do not get their regular oxygen supply. If this supply does not get restored within a few seconds, a person experiences a stroke. On the other hand, a seizure is the result of abnormal electrical impulses in the brain, also called firing of neurons. This firing disrupts normal functioning of brain in a particular area and results in symptoms similar to a stroke.

It is clear then that seizures are caused by a sudden increase in activity of neurons in the brain and is commonly experienced by patients of epilepsy. On the other hand, strokes occur whenever there is a blockage of blood flow in the arteries of the brain. This may result from narrowing or clogging of some arteries because of formation of blood clots in arteries carrying blood. Sometimes, there is a sudden rupture of a blood vessel inside the brain triggering a stroke.

Seizures are not life threatening and do not lead to complications. On the other hand, strokes are medical emergencies and require immediate medical attention and treatment as they are life threatening. This does not mean that one should underestimate the plight of those facing seizures. It is necessary to diagnose the underlying cause of seizures to help a person recover so that he does not get frequent seizures that affect his life so badly. There are drugs for epilepsy that have been successful in controlling seizures. The treatment of a stroke is dependent upon the cause of blockage of arteries and may require surgery if the patient does not give response to drugs that are meant to remove clotting.

While seizures do not cause permanent disabilities, strokes can lead to permanent damages that are characterized as inability to walk, concentrate on day to day activities, or talking abilities of a person. There have been rare instances where a person suffering from epilepsy had a stroke because of seizures. On the other hand, patients experiencing seizures because of an earlier experienced stroke are also seen.

In brief:

Stroke vs Seizure

• A seizure and a stroke are medical conditions having similar symptoms but different causes and course of treatments.

• A seizure is mostly a result of epilepsy while a stroke results from blockage of blood vessels inside the brain

• A seizure is not life threatening while a stroke is

• A seizure may not cause permanent disabilities but a stroke can cause permanent damages

  • Gallucci

    Two corrections to the above publication. Seizures can be life threatening. Seizures, depending on the severity & repetition of episodes, do have long-term, sometimes debilitating, effects on the brain & body.