An 'aura' is the term that some people use to describe the warning they feel before they have a tonic clonic seizure. An epilepsy 'aura' is in fact a focal aware seizure.
Focal aware seizures (FAS) are sometimes called ‘warnings’ or ‘auras’ because, for some people, a FAS develops into another type of seizure. The FAS is therefore sometimes a warning that another seizure will happen (see focal to bilateral tonic-clonic seizures).
Some people may describe their auras as:
• a ‘rising’ feeling in the stomach or déjà vu (feeling like you’ve ‘been here before’);
• getting an unusual smell or taste;
• a sudden intense feeling of fear or joy;
• a strange feeling like a ‘wave’ going through the head;
• stiffness or twitching in part of the body, (such as an arm or hand);
• a feeling of numbness or tingling;
• a sensation that an arm or leg feels bigger or smaller than it actually is; or
• visual disturbances such as coloured or flashing lights or hallucinations (seeing something that isn’t actually there).
Information produced: November 2017
There are many different types of epileptic seizure. Any of us could potentially have a single epileptic seizure at some point in our lives. This is not the same as having epilepsy, which is a tendency to have seizures that start in the brain.
In focal aware seizures (FAS), previously called simple partial seizures, the person is conscious (aware and alert) and will usually know that something is happening and will remember the seizure afterwards.
Epilepsy is not just one condition, but a group of many different 'epilepsies' with one thing in common: a tendency to have seizures that start in the brain.