Epilepsy is a chronic disorder that causes unprovoked, recurrent seizures. A seizure is a sudden rush of electrical activity in the brain. There are two main types of seizures. Generalized seizures affect the whole brain. Focal, or partial seizures, affect just one part of the brain.
- A mild seizure may be difficult to recognize. It can last a few seconds during which one can lack awareness.
- Stronger seizures can cause spasms and uncontrollable muscle twitches, and can last a few seconds to several minutes. During a stronger seizure, some people become confused or lose consciousness. Afterward they may have no memory of it happening.
- Epilepsy is a fairly common neurological disorder that affects 65 million people around the world. In
- Anyone can develop epilepsy, but it's more common in young children and older adults. It occurs slightly more in males than in females.
- The most common type (60%) of seizures is convulsive. Of these, one-third begins as generalized seizures from the start, affecting both hemispheres of the brain.
- Two-thirds begin as focal seizures (which affect one hemisphere of the brain) which may then progress to seizures. The remaining 40% of seizures are non-convulsive.
Symptoms of epilepsy:
Symptoms of epilepsy may include:
- Alterations to sense of taste, smell, sight, hearing, or touch
- Tingling and twitching of limbs
- Staring blankly
- Performing repetitive movements
- Loss of muscle movement, to suddenly fall down
- Repetitive jerky movements of muscles in face, neck and arms
Types of generalized seizures:
- Absence seizures- Used to e called "petit mal seizures," cause a blank stare. This type of seizure may also cause repetitive movements like lip smacking or blinking. There's also usually a short loss of awareness.
- Tonic seizures- It cause muscle stiffness.
- Atonic seizures- It lead to loss of muscle control and can make someone to fall down suddenly.
- Clonic seizures - These are characterized by repeated, jerky muscle movements of the face, neck, and arms.
- Myoclonic seizures - It can cause spontaneous quick twitching of the arms and legs.
- Tonic-clonic seizures- It is used to be called "grand mal seizures."
Causes of epilepsy:
There is no definite cause of epilepsy. As, in most of the patients, cause cannot be determined. But, there are certain things which can lead to epilepsy, such as:
- traumatic brain injury
- scarring on the brain after a brain injury (post-traumatic epilepsy)
- serious illness or very high fever
- stroke, which is a leading cause of epilepsy in people over age 35
- other vascular diseases
- lack of oxygen to the brain
- brain tumour or cyst
- dementia or Alzheimer's disease
- maternal drug use, prenatal injury, brain malformation, or lack of oxygen at birth
- infectious diseases such as AIDS and meningitis
- genetic or developmental disorders or neurological diseases
- The proportion of epilepsy to run into families is quite low, genetics might increase the risk but did not confirm epilepsy.
Triggers of epilepsy:
Finding the triggers may not be easy, as the cause for epilepsy may be different. But, some common triggers may include.
- Lack of sleep
- Illness or fever
- Bright lights, flashing lights, or patterns
- Caffeine, alcohol, medicines, or drugs
- Skipping meals, overeating, or specific food ingredients
Patients with frequent epilepsy must always try to avoid certain triggers.
Treatment of Epilepsy:
There is no cure for epilepsy. But there are certain treatments which can be used to cure and relax certain symptoms, which are:
- Anti-epileptic (anticonvulsant, antiseizure) drugs: These medications can reduce the number of seizures you have. In some people, they eliminate seizures.
- Vagus nerve stimulator: This device is surgically placed under the skin on the chest and electrically stimulates the nerve that runs through your neck. This can help prevent seizures.
- Ketogenic diet: More than half of people who don't respond to medication benefit from this high fat, low carbohydrate diet.
- Brain surgery: The area of the brain that causes seizure activity can be removed or altered.
Diagnosis of epilepsy:
First diagnosis used for epilepsy is to know the medical history of the patient, and undergo diagnosis according to that. There are certain blood test and radiology test which can be done to diagnosis epilepsy.
The most important radiology test used in epilepsy is Electroencephalogram (ECG), which is used to record electric activity in the brain.
Often any symptoms of epilepsy are undiagnosed and untreated. Most people get afraid by the repetitive movement of muscles in case of epilepsy which effect to other persons, patients of epilepsy needs support from their home, parent and friends. Epilepsy is not a mental disease, it can occur to any person due to any unidentified reason, which can last for a very few minute. People with epileptic seizures always need help, people around them should support then and always help them.