Before tackling if grand mal seizures can cause death, let me first give you a brief introduction about what are grand mal seizures. Grand mal seizures, also known as generalized tonic-clonic seizure, is a type of seizure disorder that is caused by an abnormal electrical activity in the entire brain. Grand mal seizures are characterized by aura, sudden loss of consciousness, and rigid & involuntary muscle contractions. Grand mal seizures are usually associated with epilepsy, however, people who are not suffering from epilepsy can still experience grand mal seizures once in a lifetime.
Injuries of Grand Mal Seizures
Injuries from Grand Mal Seizures
The most common complication of grand mal seizures consist of injuries associated with the sudden loss of consciousness during an episode. In fact, the most common reason why a person can die due to episodes of grand mal seizures is severe head injuries when the person falls and hits his or her head hardly to the ground, causing brain damage or even death. Aside from severe head injury, injuries of grand mal seizures include joint dislocation, broken bone, bitten tongue and/or cheek, muscle tears due to violent muscle contractions.
Other Complications of Grand Mal Seizures
Drowning – Aside from falling, people who suffer from grand mal seizure are at higher risk to drown while swimming or bathing. A person who suffers an attack of grand mal seizure in the water can die from drowning. It is highly recommended for a person with known seizure disorders, such as grand mal seizures or epilepsy, to wear life saving vests all the time when swimming, and instead of taking a bath on tubs, it may be safer to take showers, to reduce the risk of drowning.
Car Accidents – Grand mal seizures while driving is a very life-threatening situation, and can cause car accidents. That is why, there are certain driving restrictions enforced in many states that limits driving time of people with seizure disorders.
Sudden Unexplained Death of Grand Mal Seizures
People with uncontrolled and frequent grand mal seizures have a higher risk of dying suddenly without any explanation. 1 in every 1,000 people with epilepsy are known to die from sudden unexplained death from epilepsy or SUDEP. In fact, sudden unexplained deaths are more common in people with poorly controlled grand mal seizures, long seizure durations, early onset of grand mal seizures, frequent changes or adjustments in anti-seizure medications, and/or polytherapy.