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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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    Understanding Epilepsy -- Symptoms

    Seizures are the basic indicator of epilepsy. They vary widely: Staring straight ahead, repetitive swallowing, and lapsing into complete immobility for a few seconds characterize absence (petit mal) seizures, which can recur many times in a day. Tonic/clonic (grand mal) seizures, which usually last several minutes, typically begin with a loss of consciousness and a fall, followed by rigidity, then jerking motions and incontinence of urine. After the seizure ends, there is usually a period...

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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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