Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that causes recurrent seizures. When there is a sudden rush of electrical activity occurs in the brain, immediately seizure starts. Generalised seizures and partial seizures are two types of seizures. The first one affects the entire brain whereas the latter affects a part of the brain.
It is hard to recognize a mild seizure that can last for a few seconds during that condition the patients may be unconscious. Strong seizures develop uncontrollable muscle twitches, spasms and last for several minutes. During this time, some patients will feel confused or lose consciousness. Anybody can develop with epilepsy; however, it is quite common in adults and young children. It occurs slightly more in males than females.
Epilepsy is a disorder or any abnormal activity caused in the brain which affects the coordination process. The symptoms depend upon the type of seizure and the seizure is categorized into two types by the doctors:
Focal seizure: This is also called partial seizures and occur in one part of the brain. The symptoms include mental illness, narcolepsy or migraine.
Generalized seizures: This type of seizures involve every part of your brain. The symptoms involve lip-smacking or blinking, sudden collapse or fall down, jerking or repetitive muscle movements.
The general symptoms of epilepsy are as follows:
The cause of epilepsy is not identifiable but the traces have been found which include:
Sometimes epilepsy also run in the family thus it is called having a genetic influence. There are some kinds of epilepsy which are linked to specific genes and some also get triggered due to certain environmental changes.
This can be the result of an accident or any severe injury.
The condition of the brain is also very important as if there is any damage, stroke or trauma then it can cause epilepsy.
Like AIDS, meningitis, and viral encephalitis can be one of the causes for epilepsy.
To diagnose epilepsy doctor may recommend various tests that include the following:
If have any behavioural change or change in motor abilities or in any problem in body part then you will be recommended neurological exam.
It will be done in order to test if there is any infection or disease in the body which can affect the brain and is associated with seizures or not.
This test is the most common test that is done to diagnose epilepsy in which electrodes are attached to the scalp in order to detect the activity of the brain.
A CT scan is done in order to get the cross-sectional image of the brain. Through this scan abnormalities in the brain can be diagnosed properly.
In this with the help of radio and magnetic waves detailed view of the brain is given. This helps the doctor to determine the exact problem which can be either cyst, bleeding, tumor, etc.
A very low level of radioactive material is injected in the brain in order to determine the active areas or the brain and abnormalities as well.
Treatment for epilepsy are as follows:
2. Surgery: When medication stopped working then and the seizure starts becoming out of control then the last option left is surgery. In this, area which is affected with epilepsy is removed from the brain. Although medications are still given after the surgery the dosage is reduced.
In this device is implanted by the doctor which is known as vagus nerve stimulator. It is implanted under the chest skin and it is similar to a pacemaker. After this stimulator wires are connected to the nerve in the neck.
This is very helpful during epilepsy and may people who suffer from epilepsy have reduced the symptoms of seizure by following the ketogenic diet which is high in fats and low in carbohydrates.
In deep brain stimulation electrodes are implanted in the specific part of your brain (thalamus) by the doctor. A generator is implanted in the chest and the electrodes are connected with it which sends electric impulses to the brain thus reducing seizure.
Side effects include:
These are the factors which may increase the risk of epilepsy:
It plays a very important factor in epilepsy as it mostly occurs in childhood or in older adults. But this condition may occur at any age.
If any member of the family is suffering or has suffered through epilepsy then there can be a risk of developing a seizure disorder.
If you have dementia then the risk of epilepsy increases by itself.
Infection or diseases such as meningitis can cause inflammation or in the spinal cord thus increasing the risk.
If you have the problem of stroke or any other vascular disease then it can damage the brain and can result in epilepsy.
These are the following complications that can happen due to epilepsy:
If you have a sudden stroke or seizure then you may fall down which may lead to severe injuries like breaking or bone or head injury.
If you suffer from seizure or stroke then the chance of drowning increases up to 15-19 times more than other people. Therefore one must be careful while swimming or bathing in a river.
If you are driving and have a problem of seizure then being cautious is important as there can be abnormal activities in the body thus it can make operating a vehicle dangerously.
If a mother suffers from seizure during pregnancy then it is dangerous for the baby as well as for the mother because taking anti-epileptic medications at times increases the risk of defects in the babies.
A person with epilepsy have more risk of developing any emotional issues like suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety. It becomes very hard for the person to control these feelings.
Some of the anti-epileptic medicines are Clonazepam, Gabapentin, Phenytoin, Tiagabine, Topiramate, Rufinamide, Oxcarbazepine, Acetazolamide, Carbamazepine etc.
Some of the foods that can alleviate the conditions during epilepsy or trigger seizures are as follows: Soy Products: Soy mostly triggers allergies and seizures in children that is found in many baby foods. Try to scrutiny the soy-free product before feeding your children.