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Can a Grand Mal Seizure Kill You?

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.

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  1. My name is Kathy I have had three of these grand Mal seizures in the last nine months one in a Walmart and got a severe head injury that needed ten staples I just had another one last week my question is am I being stupid if I tell people not to worry and don’t need to call the ambulance unless I’m hurt in all three cases I am unconscious for like twenty minutes or more I am always very frightened when I start coming to and since the last one last week now I’m afraid to be alone I have never had a seizure till last November

    • No, you’re not stupid, but you need to be sure that you’re getting help from a neurologist and have someone treating you.

  2. My daughter was in her teen’s when she had her first seizure then they got more frequent after that I found my daughter a Neurologist he was the real deal when she walked into his examining room he asked her to go over to the other side of the room and just stand there she was yeah sure whatever as she is standing there for about5 to 10 minutes she starts making twitching movements he asks her if she is taking adderal she was shocked and said yes his immediate response stop I never told him anything about her taking any meds he knew right away what caused her seizures,she unfortunately didn’t think it was such a big deal really well she ended up getting grandmall seizures and even though she never told him that she lied to the psychiatrist who believes she has add and gives her 60 30mg.2time’s a day she of course hasn’t had a seizure in2 year’s but I am really concerned because I know she took up to 10 in one day and she has been getting headaches also she told me that every time she had those seizures it kills some of her brain cells please I need to know if this is true and I have been praying about how to get her off the adderals I have been through so much because of her addictive personality to drugs she has been clean from heroine for almost two years thank god but I don’t know what to do about the other things she takes she’s28year’s old now and acts just like she’s a teenager again,is this apart of it please I can’t stand by her and watch this nightmare all over again because it has taken its toll on me and I don’t want her to die,she has2beautiful boy’s1and3 year’s old I am here with my family because I need to make sure everyone is safe my grandsons are amazing and very intelligent just like she used to be,what should I do?

  3. My 42 year old sister just died on the 31 jan. In September she had her first seizure. In dec she had to more Dr prescribed keppra 200mg. She took this until 24 jan. She ran out told doctor it was making her depressed was prescribed. Tegretol 200mg 2 a day but didn’t take it until Friday 27 evening. On Saturday at 1.30 she had another seizure ambulance was called the dealt with her at the house an left by 4 she had a massive prolonged seizure turning blue ambulance was again called an she was taken to hospital where she was observed for 5 hours increasing her medication to 4/day and released by Tuesday 930 she came from a sleep into a seizure an died A battery of test were done on her in December mri stress eeg all where clear. She took pressure medication but her pressure was normal. Autopsy found nothing and cause of death was seizure. As a family we are still searching for answers as to why she began having seizures.

    • Wow, I too am so perplexed, I lost my precious 57 year old wife to what appears to have been some sort of seizure on Jan. 28, 2017. She had no health issues, was very healthy, fit, crazy attractive, no meds, nothing!!, She and I had her first unexpected and very shocking experience on July 12, 2016 when I awoke to find her in what was her first ever seizure. DR.s’ ran a gazillion tests and only could agree to believe it was a stress related seizure. She quit her job that next day, and was doing fantastic and on top of the world and so glad not having to go through the daily job stress she was smothered in. She to had an autopsy, that was clear of no findings for cause of death. I too hate every single solitary day living without her. We were soul-mates, and planned to grow old together and take care of each other. When she and I married, we never said until death do us part, and now as I do and will love her as promised, “Forever within all my heart and power”.

      • Really sorry for your loss, may your love be eternal.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your sister. Was she an athlete? My husband suffered a devastating gramd mal seizure. Ever since I’ve been obsessed with finding out why an otherwise healthy active person would have such a terrible incident. He is a competitive distance runner and doesn’t always eat very healthy (honey buns and that type of thing). All medical tests negative including a sleep deprived eeg. His seizure was nocturnal and took him over a week to recover from. I really feel he was nutritionally deficient. Post-seizure I don’t purchase any packaged foods and feed him lots of veggies and beef and fish now. He is doing well. Almost one year post seizure. What we eat has a lot to do with our brain function I’m finding out. Makes sense.

      • I started having nocturnal grand mal seizures at age 30 and am now 44. I have had probably a dozen over the years. Before I was 30 years old, I exercised a lot. Since then, the exercise went down, but there was a period in between where I trained for marathons and was exercising more and the seizures disappeared. I am convinced all the medications do is reduce the chance of a seizure, not fix the problem, like you LaLa I am convinced food is related and exercise is related.

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