Types of Seizures and Their Symptoms

Types of Seizures and Their Symptoms

In this Article

In this Article

In this Article

Epilepsy is a brain disorder that happens when certain nerve cells in your brain misfire. It causes seizures, which can affect your behavior or the way you see things around you for a short time.

There are about a dozen types of epilepsy, and the type you have plays a role in which kind of seizure you may have.

Focal seizures: These start in a particular part of your brain, and their names are based on the part where they happen. They can cause both physical and emotional effects and make you feel, see, or hear things that aren’t there. About 60% of people with epilepsy have this type of seizure, which is sometimes called a partial seizure. Sometimes, the symptoms of a focal seizure can be mistaken for signs of mental illness or another kind of nerve disorder.

Generalized seizures: These happen when nerve cells on both sides of your brain misfire. They can make you have muscle spasms, black out, or fall.

Seizures aren’t always an either-or thing: Some people have seizures that start as one kind, then become another. And it’s not easy to classify some of them: These are called unknown-onset seizures, and they can cause both sensory and physical symptoms.

Generalized Seizures

There are six types:

Tonic-clonic (or grand mal) seizures: These are the most noticeable. When you have this type, your body stiffens, jerks, and shakes, and you lose consciousness. Sometimes you lose control of your bladder or bowels. They usually last 1 to 3 minutes — if they go on longer, someone should call 911. That can lead to breathing problems or make you bite your tongue or cheek.

Clonic seizures: Your muscles have spasms, which often make your face, neck, and arm muscles jerk rhythmically. They may last several minutes.

Tonic seizures: The muscles in your arms, legs, or trunk tense up. These usually last less than 20 seconds and often happen when you’re asleep. But if you’re standing up at the time, you can lose your balance and fall. These are more common in people who have a type of epilepsy known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, though people with other types can have them, too.


Atonic seizures: Your muscles suddenly go limp, and your head may lean forward. If you’re holding something, you might drop it, and if you’re standing, you might fall. These usually last less than 15 seconds, but some people have several in a row. Because of the risk of falling, people who tend to have atonic seizures may need to wear something like a helmet to protect their heads.

People who have Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and another kind of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome are more likely to have this kind of seizure.

Myoclonic seizures: Your muscles suddenly jerk as if you’ve been shocked. They may start in the same part of the brain as an atonic seizure, and some people have both myoclonic and atonic seizures.

Absence (or petit mal) seizures: You seem disconnected from others around you and don’t respond to them. You may stare blankly into space, and your eyes might roll back in your head. They usually last only a few seconds, and you may not remember having one. They’re most common in children under 14.

Focal Seizures

Doctors break these into three groups:

Simple focal seizures: They change how your senses read the world around you: They can make you smell or taste something strange, and may make your fingers, arms, or legs twitch. You also might see flashes of light or feel dizzy. You’re not likely to lose consciousness, but you might feel sweaty or nauseated.

Complex focal seizures: These usually happen in the part of your brain that controls emotion and memory. You may lose consciousness but still look like you’re awake, or you may do things like gag, smack your lips, laugh, or cry. It may take several minutes for someone who’s having a complex focal seizure to come out of it.

Secondary generalized seizures: These start in one part of your brain and spread to the nerve cells on both sides. They can cause some of the same physical symptoms as a generalized seizure, like convulsions or muscle slackness.

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The Epilepsy Foundation.

Johns Hopkins Medicine.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

CDC: “Epilepsy: Types of seizures.”

The Mayo Clinic: “Epilepsy: Symptoms and causes.”

University of Chicago Medicine: “Epilepsy: Types of seizures.”


10 Types of Azaleas for the Flower Garden

Select the Right Azalea Variety for Your Garden

In many parts of the United States, especially the Southeast, it just wouldn’t be springtime without azaleas (Rhododendron). Established neighborhoods are especially hospitable to growing these flowering perennial shrubs, as their mature trees provide the dappled shade and leaf litter that azaleas appreciate. Having been selectively bred for hundreds of years, there are more than 10,000 different cultivars of azaleas.

They generally prefer rich, acidic soil. And their colorful blooms, which are on display for several weeks in the spring, are typically funnel-shaped. ​Bumblebees are in heaven around azaleas, as they adore their blossoms. Recognizing the broad appeal of this perennial shrub, breeders continue to add more fragrance, cold tolerance, and color combinations to the azalea family. Here are 10 popular types of azaleas to grow in the garden.

‘Northern Hi-Lights’ (Rhododendron ‘Northern Hi-Lights’)

‘Northern Hi-Lights’ features showy, fragrant blooms that are cream to pale yellow with bright yellow highlights. This variety was developed by the University of Minnesota and has good cold tolerance, as well as some resistance to mildew. It grows best in humusy, acidic soil with a moderate moisture level and good drainage. Plant it in a location that gets at least four hours of sun per day and has some protection from strong winds. In terms of maintenance, remove spent flowers to promote further blooming, and water regularly to ensure the soil doesn’t dry out.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 7
  • Height:4 to 5 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade

‘Encore Autumn Amethyst’ (Rhododendron ‘Conlee’)

Azaleas from the Encore series, such as ‘Encore Autumn Amethyst’ with its magenta flowers, produce blooms on new growth periodically throughout the growing season, rather than just flowering in the spring like most azaleas. There are more than 30 Encore varieties available, meaning you’ll likely be able to find a hue to complement your landscape. Remove spent blooms promptly to promote further flowering. The blooms will attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators to your garden all season long.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8
  • Height: 4 to 6 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade

‘Lemon Lights’ (Rhododendron ‘Lemon Lights’)

The ‘Lemon Lights’ azalea hybrid sports blooms in the spring that are a lighter yellow on the edges blending into a more golden tone near the throat. These showy flowers are excellent at attracting pollinators. The shrub grows slowly, topping out at around 6 feet. Make sure you maintain adequate soil moisture, especially as the plant is establishing itself. Lightly prune to shape the shrub after it’s done blooming.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 7
  • Height: 4 to 6 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade

‘Hot Shot’ (Rhododendron ‘Girard’s Hot Shot’)

You should reserve a place of honor for this azalea with vivid red blooms in your landscape. Like other hybrids in the Girard series, ‘Hot Shot’ is a low-growing azalea that works well when planted in the middle of a border. It’s an evergreen azalea, which makes it susceptible to winter weather damage. Give it a sheltered position away from wind and low-lying troughs that can freeze, which can kill the plant’s buds. Also, avoid heavy clay soil with poor drainage, which can lead to root rot. However, water your plant consistently to prevent the roots from drying out.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8
  • Height: 2 to 3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade

‘Variegated Gem’ (Rhododendron ‘Girard’s Variegated Gem’)

‘Variegated Gem’ is a variety for gardeners who demand three seasons of interest from their azaleas. This hardy shrub will grace your garden with bright pink spring flowers, white-edged summer foliage, and red leaves in the fall. ‘Variegated Gem’ is small and generally doesn’t need much pruning outside of shaping it and removing dead or damaged portions. Plant it in a location that’s sheltered from winds, and consider using mulch around its base to maintain soil moisture.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8
  • Height: 2 to 3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade

‘Fireball’ (Rhododendron ‘Fireball’)

The Exbury azalea hybrids like ‘Fireball’ are good plants for beginners. Like other deciduous azaleas (i.e., azaleas that shed their leaves annually), they exhibit good cold tolerance and flower freely in the spring. The upright growth habit of ‘Fireball’ will ensure that its showy red blossoms won’t get lost among your other spring flowers. This variety has a moderate growth rate but typically needs little pruning. Just make sure your soil stays moist, fertile, and acidic for it to grow to its fullest potential.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8
  • Height: 4 to 6 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade

‘Fashion’ (Rhododendron ‘Girard’s Fashion’)

The showy coral blooms of this Girard azalea hybrid might attract the first hummingbird visitors of the season to your garden. A partially shady location with acidic soil will keep this evergreen shrub happy for many years. Unless you get a lot of rain, plan on watering at least weekly to ensure adequate soil moisture. And keep the roots cool and moist with a layer of mulch. Moreover, fertilizing your shrub after it blooms can help to promote more vigorous growth.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 9
  • Height: 2 to 4 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade
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‘Mandarin Lights’ (Rhododendron ‘Mandarin Lights’)

The ruffled rust-colored blooms of ‘Mandarin Lights’ will positively glow in the dappled shade of your landscape. Early blooms precede foliage on this deciduous variety. And the sweet fragrance of the flowers is a bonus. ‘Mandarin Lights’ grows up to 5 feet tall and looks stunning when planted in a woodland garden. It prefers evenly moist soil enriched with composted leaves or manure to increase acidity.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 7
  • Height: 4 to 5 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade

‘Snow’ (Rhododendron ‘Snow’)

This azalea hybrid produces trumpet-shaped clusters of white blooms in the spring that pop against a backdrop of green leaves. The foliage remains deep green through the winter. The shrub has a slow growth rate and typically doesn’t require much pruning. If you need to prune to shape the plant or remove dead portions, do so right after it’s done flowering. This azalea is very particular about its planting site and must have soil that’s rich, acidic, evenly moist, and well-draining. It also benefits from mulch around its base to keep the roots cool and the soil moist.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 9
  • Height: 5 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Part sun

Korean Azalea (Rhododendron yedoense var. poukhanense)

The Korean azalea is a hardy shrub. Because it blooms before the foliage has fully emerged, you get a showy display of rose-colored, fragrant flowers in the early spring. Plus, the shrub’s dark green foliage turns an orange-red in the fall. This slow-grower tends to extend wider than it is tall. Like most azaleas, it prefers rich, acidic, evenly moist soil with good drainage. A layer of mulch is helpful to protect its shallow root system.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
  • Height: 3 to 6 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade


Lettuce Varieties

With 16 different types, salad will never be boring

About Lettuce

Far from the shrink-wrapped iceberg lettuce we all know so well—perfectly round and crunchy, almost all water, and able to last a long time after harvest—the multitude of lettuce varieties available at the grocery store and farmers markets offer a wide range of textures, colors, and flavors. Instead of a generic looking and tasting salad, you can make something interesting to eat and look at.

In general, salad greens are cool weather crops, at their best in spring and early summer before high heats and long days make them bolt and turn bitter. Look for lettuce year-round in ultra-temperate climates, fall and spring in mainly temperate areas, and in the late spring through the summer months in cooler climates.

Arugula (a.k.a. Rocket)

Arugula (a.k.a. rocket) has dark green leaves and a peppery flavor. The leaves can be long and spiked or shorter and more rounded, but they all share that dark green color.

Wild-harvested arugula is the most pungent; look for it at farmers markets and local foods co-ops. Cultivated arugula is widely available and varies greatly in strength of flavor. In general, larger leaves tend to be stronger tasting, but if pungency is a concern, be sure to taste the batch before using.

Use arugula alone to stand up to tangy dressings such as lemon garlic vinaigrette and bold flavors such as blue cheese, or mix it with other lettuces as an accent note. Arugula is also a great way to add a kick to hearty dishes like chicken with bread salad and arugula.

Batavia Lettuce (a.k.a. French Crisp or Summer Crisp)

As one of its other names would suggest, Batavia lettuce is more tolerant of warmer weather than many salad greens. It stays crisp and doesn’t bolt (flower) and turn bitter as easily as other lettuces, so is a favorite with summer gardeners who want to keep themselves in lettuce all season long.

Like many varieties of lettuce, Batavia comes with all green or red-tinted leaves. There isn’t a taste difference between the two, so choose whichever will look best on your table. Top with a bit of honey mustard vinaigrette or a simple balsamic dressing.

Belgian Endive

These tight, compact heads are packed with flavor and crunch. While a popular way to eat endive is slowly and carefully braised to caramelized brown perfection, endive also adds a solid crunch to any salad, whether on its own or mixed with other greens. It tends to have a bit of a bitter edge, so know your audience or use them sparingly with other salad greens.

Since most Belgian endive is now grown indoors (it used to be grown buried in sand to keep the leaves white), it’s a great option come dead of winter when you’re craving that satisfying fresh-leaf crunch.

Butter Lettuce

Butter lettuce is commonly available. It is a crisp-head lettuce, meaning its leaves form a compact head as it grows—although its head is much less compact than iceberg lettuce. Butter lettuce has a tender texture and large, cupped leaves that work beautifully in salads, especially with delicately flavored dressings such as buttermilk dill salad dressing or in asparagus butter lettuce salad. Look for pale green and red-tinged varieties.

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Chrysanthemum Greens

Bright and peppery, young and tender chrysanthemum greens are a tasty addition to salads. They are the green fronds from the chrysanthemum plant that grows the popular flowers, which are more commonly known as mums in some areas. They need to be young for the best flavor raw; larger, older greens will take on a bitter edge that gets tamed by cooking.

Dandelion Greens

Some might say it’s stretching things to include dandelion greens here, but there are people who relish the sharp, bitter hit of raw dandelion. You can blanch and braise this dark leaf to tame its intense flavor, but if you like the strong taste, match it with strong acidic and/or pungent dressings.

Frisée (Curly Endive)

This twisted, curly, frizzled green is endive, and has all the bright bitterness and delicious crunch that goes along with that family of greens. Frisée is best known as the base for a classic French bistro salad that includes bacon and a poached egg on top and is also delicious in a pear salad with blue cheese and walnuts.

Little Gems Lettuce

Little Gem lettuce is soft with just a hint of crunch. The delicate flavor is well suited to light vinaigrettes (ginger vinaigrette is lovely) and lemony dressings. Little Gems are especially delicious with thinly sliced radishes or spears of gently steamed asparagus.

Mâche (a.k.a. Lambs’ Lettuce)

Mâche, also known as corn salad or lamb’s lettuce, comes in lovely little rosettes of dark green leaves attached in groups of 4 or 5 at the roots. It has a bit more body than many lettuces and mixes well with other vegetables.

It requires extra care when cleaning since sand and grit tend to gather in the nub of roots holding each rosette together. Give it a few extra swishes in the water to get them clean. Tradition says that a shallot vinaigrette brings out the best in mâche.

Mesclun (a.k.a. Spring Mix)

Mesclun means «mixed» in Provencal and is traditionally composed of several varieties of wild-harvested, young greens. Most mesclun sold today is cultivated, meaning planted as beds of mixed lettuce seeds and harvested when the leaves reach the desired size of 3 to 6 inches. Look for mixes that contain young, sweet leaves from a variety of tender lettuces—maybe a bit of curly endive for texture, some peppery watercress or arugula for bite, and a few herbs.

Some farms and markets sell special «spicy» mixtures that have more arugula, watercress, mizuna, and mustard leaves. Mesclun is often dressed with a classic French vinaigrette, but it’s a forgiving mix that works well with a wide range of dressings.


Mizuna is an Asian variety of mustard greens. It has spiky dark green leaves that have a surprisingly delicate texture and delightfully peppery, even spicy kick. Try it drizzled with a light vinaigrette or a sesame seed dressing. It is also a tasty add-on in the Japanese mochi soup often eaten at New Year’s.

Oak Leaf Lettuce

As with Batavia lettuce, there are several varieties of oak leaf lettuce—green, red, bronze—but they are all loose-leaf lettuces, meaning the leaves stay loose and attached only at the base as they grow instead of forming tight, compact heads like iceberg lettuce or cabbage. They make excellent salads and work with a wide range of dressings. Discard the external leaves if they are damaged or wilted. If working with small heads, use the leaves whole. Larger leaves can be torn into bite-sized pieces when cleaning.


Purslane is often foraged; it grows wild and people pick it in meadows and parks. Lately, however, you will find it more and more at farmers markets and specialty stores. Purslane has thick, almost spongy leaves and works well with delicate herb-laced dressings or something bright like a lemon-parsley dressing.


Romaine lettuce is hale and hearty and is the ubiquitous lettuce in a Caesar salad. Its crunchy texture can stand up to any dressing, from a light gingery vinaigrette to a full-blown thick and creamy blue cheese dressing. Due to its sturdy texture, it can even be grilled.

Speckled Radicchio

Of course, you can chop up brilliant magenta radicchio or its longer, leaner cousin, Treviso, to put in salads, but speckled radicchio is a real beauty. It looks and acts a bit more like «regular» lettuce with its leafier leaves and primarily green color. Plus, it has a softer, less bitter, flavor than its redder cousins. Dress with a bit of ranch for something the whole family will love.


Watercress has a bright, peppery flavor prized for salads and gently «wilted» preparations. It grows wild in streams in Northern America and Europe but is easily cultivated with the right irrigation. Much cultivated «watercress» is actually garden cress, which has slightly less bite and crunch than its watercress cousin.

Whatever cress we’re talking about, they’re all members of the mustard family. The older they get, the sharper their flavor becomes. Use cress as soon as possible, removing any yellowed or wilted leaves. Tender stalks and roots are perfectly edible along with the dark green leaves. Try tossing with a feta vinaigrette or yogurt buttermilk dressing.


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