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Epilepsy: Tonic Seizures - Topic Overview

Tonic seizures are fairly uncommon. They occur mostly in people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. This is a severe form of generalized epilepsy that begins in early childhood. (Children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome may also have atonic seizures.)

When a tonic seizure occurs, the muscles in the body contract and the entire body stiffens. This occurs suddenly and without warning. And it often causes the person to fall down.

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To diagnose epilepsy, your doctor will take a detailed medical history (including a family history of seizures), gather information about your behavior before, during, and after the episode, and do a physical exam. Make sure someone who witnessed the seizure goes to the doctor with you.   An electroencephalogram (EEG) -- a brain wave study -- can reveal abnormal brain waves characteristic of epilepsy and sleep deprivation. Keeping someone awake for 24 hours increases the chances of finding abnormalities...

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People who have tonic or atonic seizures are likely to be injured when they fall. Children may have to wear helmets and restrict their activities to prevent serious injury.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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