Strokes, Seizures, and Epilepsy: 7 Reasons to Call 911

stroke1 happens when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Jay Harold wrote this post, “Strokes, Seizures, and Epilepsy: 7 Reasons to Call 911 ” since 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year.  It is a major cause of disability and the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. Signs that someone is having a stroke are:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or problems understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

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Strokes Can Cause Seizures and Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a broad term used for a brain disorder that causes repeated seizures. There are many types of epilepsy, and there are also many different kinds of seizures.

A single seizure may happen soon after a stroke. You do not necessarily have epilepsy, or will develop epilepsy, if you have just one seizure. Certain types of strokes, such as ones that cause bleeding, and more severe strokes, may be more likely to cause epilepsy.

One study found that among those who had strokes, 5% had one seizure, and 7% developed epilepsy in the thirty months afterwards.
Epilepsy caused by strokes can usually be controlled with anti-seizure medicines.2 It’s important to take medicine as prescribed to keep seizures under control.

Preventing Stroke

Lower your chance of having a stroke by:

  1. Controlling high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol
  2. Having a healthy weight
  3. Being physically active
  4. Eating a healthy diet
  5. Limiting alcohol
  6. Avoiding smoking

Epilepsy Fast Facts2



The way a seizure looks depends on the type of seizure a person is experiencing. Some seizures can look like staring spells. Other seizures can cause a person to collapse, shake, and become unaware of what’s going on around them.

Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain that causes seizures. These seizures are not caused by a temporary underlying medical condition such as a high fever.

Epilepsy can affect people in very different ways. This is because there are many causes and many different kinds of seizures. Some people may have multiple types of seizures or other medical conditions, in addition to epilepsy. These factors play a major role in determining both the severity of the person’s condition and the impact it has on his or her life.

Epilepsy can be caused by different conditions that affect a person’s brain. Many times the cause is unknown. Some causes include:

A person with epilepsy is not contagious and cannot give epilepsy to another person.

Older Adults Are More at Risk

Epilepsy is more likely to develop in older adults than younger adults. Stroke causes up to half of the new epilepsy cases in older adults for which a cause can be identified. This makes stroke one of the most common reasons people develop epilepsy as they age.

Seizures may be hard to recognize in older adults and may be overlooked. For instance, trouble with memory, confusion, falls, dizziness or numbness may be viewed as “normal” aging problems. However, these can actually be symptoms of seizures and are not normal. Older adults who have had a stroke and their caregivers should watch for these symptoms.

To learn more about recognizing seizures in older adults, take the Epilepsy Foundation’s Seniors and Seizures training external icon.

Do you know what to do if someone has a seizure? Learn seizure first aid.

Prevent epilepsy by preventing a stroke!

Seizure First Aid

About 1 out of 10 people may have a seizure during his or her lifetime. That means seizures are frequent, and one day, you might need to help someone during or after a seizure.

Learn what you can do to keep that person safe until the seizure stops by itself.

Do I call 911?

Seizures do not usually require emergency medical attention. Only call 911 if one or more of these are true:

  1. The person has never had a seizure before.
  2. The person has difficulty breathing or waking after the seizure.
  3. The seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
  4. The person has another seizure soon after the first one.
  5. The person is hurt during the seizure.
  6. The seizure happens in water.
  7. The person has a health condition like diabetes, heart disease, or is pregnant.

There are many types of seizures. Most seizures end in a few minutes.

Strokes, Seizures, and Epilepsy: 7 Reasons to Call 911

General steps to help someone who is having any type of seizure:

  1. Stay with the person until the seizure ends, and he or she is fully awake. After it ends, help the person sit in a safe place. Once they are alert and able to communicate, tell them what happened in very simple terms.
  2. Comfort the person and speak calmly.
  3. Check to see if the person is wearing a medical bracelet or other emergency information.
  4. Keep yourself and other people calm.
  5. Offer to call a taxi or another person to make sure the person gets home safely.

Stop! Do NOT

Knowing what NOT to do is vital for keeping a person safe during or after a seizure.

stop sign with hand

Never do any of the following things

  • Do not hold the person down or try to stop his or her movements.
  • Do not put anything in the person’s mouth. This can injure teeth or the jaw. A person having a seizure cannot swallow his or her tongue.
  • Do not try to give mouth-to-mouth breaths (like CPR). People usually start breathing again on their own after a seizure.
  • Do not offer the person water or food until he or she is fully alert.

Jay Harold hopes you enjoyed this post, “Strokes, Seizures, and Epilepsy: 7 Reasons to Call 911 .” Please Share it and read more about Jay Harold here.  Please take this advice from  Muhammad Ali and give back to others. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”



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