Epilepsy is a mental condition in which the person faces seizures, twitching and convulsions. These seizures are caused due to the abnormal action of the brain's electrical impulses. These impulses then send abnormal signals. This leads to the brain getting confused which then results in a seizure. Epilepsy can interfere with several activities such as walking, driving, even cooking as the seizure may strike any time. Epilepsy is manageable with proper medications and treatment. You may also reduce the risk of the seizure via several changes in the lifestyle and getting aware of the triggers which can help manage epilepsy. When you get a strong seizure attack, you may become confused or lose consciousness. Later, you may not be able to recall how it happened. There can be several reasons why you may suffer a seizure attack. They include:
• very high fever
• mental trauma
• low blood sugar
• withdrawal from alcohol
Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder and affects more than 50 million people worldwide.
The most common symptom of epilepsy is repeated seizures. However, if you may face one or more of the symptoms mentioned below, then you should visit the doctor as soon as possible.
• Twitching throughout the body, including face, arms, hands, and legs
• Intense convulsions
• Loss of consciousness
• Slurry speech
• Long duration of a blank stare or intense blinking without any apparent stimuli
• Loss of control of your bladder or bowels
• Stiffness in the body for no reason
• Changes in senses, such as smell, touch, and sound
• No temporary response to instructions or questions
• Sudden falling
• Becoming fearful, panicky, angry
There are some conditions which the people can identify with and which are responsible to trigger seizures.
Here are the conditions that trigger seizures:
• lack of sleep
• high fever
• mental stress or anxiety
• bright or flashy lights or patterns
• addiction to caffeine, alcohol, medicines, or drugs
• not planning meals properly, skipping/overeating.
Causes of epilepsy include:
• serious brain injury
• wounds and scar in the brain post brain injury
• illness / high fever
• stroke, one of the leading causes of epilepsy in adults
• vascular diseases
• lack of oxygen transport to the brain
• tumor in the brain
• drug use during your mother's pregnancy which may have led to brain malformation
• lack of oxygen at birth
• AIDS and meningitis
• genetic or neurological disorders
The doctor classifies the epileptic seizures according to the results obtained in the diagnosis. The types of epileptic seizures are:
• Idiopathic: When there is no cause.
• Cryptogenic: When the doctor cannot pinpoint the cause, but thinks there is one.
• Symptomatic: The doctor exactly knows the cause.
After you face symptoms of epileptic seizures, you may visit the doctor. The doctor carries out a neurological examination to exactly locate the cause of the seizures and diagnose epilepsy.
The following tests are used for the epilepsy diagnosis:
• An electroencephalogram (EEG) is done to measure the electrical activity of the brain
• A spinal tap is done to collect spinal fluid and analyze them further
• Imaging tests, MRI or CT scan of the brain.
There are several methods of epilepsy treatment. The doctor may usually prescribe medicines to control seizures and treat epilepsy. Such prescribed medications are called anticonvulsants.
Other epilepsy treatment options include:
• Anti-epileptic (anticonvulsant, antiseizure) drugs: Such medicines are prescribed in order to cut down the number of seizures you may regularly face.
In some fortunate cases, these medications completely eliminate seizures. However, for the medications to be an effective mode of epilepsy treatment, they must be consumed strictly according to the instructions by the doctor.
Some side effects of these medications may include:
- body rash
- temporary problem with coordination
- memory problems
• Vagus nerve stimulator: This device is used to stimulate the nerves running through your neck. The doctor places the device under the skin via surgery. This device is meant to prevent seizures.
• Brain surgery: In serious cases of epileptic seizure attacks, the doctor may go for brain surgery in which he removes that part of the brain which can remove or alter seizure activity.