Anybody can have a seizure
The ‘temporary breakdown’ that causes a seizure can happen to anybody; it’s simply a matter of getting the necessary activator or stimulus to start it off. With the stimulus of an electric current, for example, everyone would have a seizure. Some people, however, require comparatively less of a stimulus than others, to trigger off a seizure. The likelihood of someone having an epileptic seizure is described as the ‘epileptic threshold’. People with epilepsy have a low epileptic threshold – which means they may have a seizure if the working of the b rain is only slightly upset. Others are able to withstand quite a strong stimulus to the brain without having a seizure; these people have a high threshold.
Thus having epilepsy can, in some ways, be compared to having an allergy. Some people clearly have a low allergy threshold – and only a slight amount of pollen in the air will make their eyes sore and make them start sneezing. With others, no amount of pollen seems to have any effect. The epileptic threshold.
The sorts of stimulus that triggers off seizures in different people, can vary enormously. In young children aged six months to three years, a high temperature can cause a seizure, known as a febrile convulsion. In women, for example, hormonal changes associated with the menstrual cycle, may lead to chemical changes which may, in turn, lead to chemical changes in the brain. In some people, these changes may be prompted by a visual stimulus, such as flashing lights. A change of daily routine or lack of sleep, or more emotional factors, such as stress and excitement, can all prompt seizures in some individuals. Very often however, it is impossible to say what exactly acted as a stimulus for a seizure; there is no cause that we can readily see.