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Overview

Epilepsy - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a type of disorder which is characterized by an urge for recurrent seizures. Drugs and medications are prescribed to control the seizures, if medications fail, surgery is considered the last resort. During a seizure there is a sudden flow of electrical activity inside the brain. This can cause disturbance in the brain cells. A person’s brain can become ‘mixed up’ or ‘halted’ during a seizure.There are various types of seizures, and each seizure depends on the patient’s brain functioning.

Types of seizures:

  • Idiopathic- There is no apparent cause for this form of epilepsy.
  • Cryptogenic- During a cryptogenic seizure, the doctor suspects there is a cause behind it but he/she can’t pinpoint it.
  • Symptomatic- During this type of seizure, the specialist knows what exactly the cause is.
  • Classification of seizures:

    Partial seizure- There are usually two types of partial seizure:

    • Simple partial seizure- During this type of seizure, the patient is conscious and is also aware of her/his surrounding.
    • Complex partial seizure- During this form of seizure, the consciousness of the patient is impaired. The patient tends to forget the seizure, even if they are reminded of it, the recollection of this seizure is very vague.
    • Generalized seizure- This occurs when both the halves of the brain has epileptic activity going on. The consciousness of the person s generally lost during the seizure.

      • Secondary generalized seizure- This type of seizure occurs when the epileptic activity stars to occur as a partial seizure and gradually spreads to both the halves of the brain. The atient looses consciousness as the development of the seizure progresses.

      Sometimes other disorders and conditions are misdiagnosed as epilepsy. These conditions include:

      • High fever which has symptoms similar to epilepsy.
      • Fainting
      • Narcolepsy (disrupted nocturnal sleep and continuous episodes of sleep during the daytime).
      • Cataplexy (an attack characterized by extreme weakness due to an emotional response like anger, fear and surprise)
      • Sleep disorders
      • Nightmares
      • Panic attacks caused due to mental health disorders.
      • Fugue states (this is a rare psychological disorder caused due to temporary amnesia)
      • Psychogenic seizures (a behavior related to psychiatric disturbance like conversion disorder)
      • Breath holding episodes which occurs when a child cries vigorously and then suddenly stops breathing for a few seconds. This is characterized by loss of consciousness and change in skin color.

      Anti-epileptic drugs are prescribed to people who are diagnosed with epilepsy, to reduce the symptoms of epilepsy in the long run.

Can't be cured, but treatment helps Require medical diagnosis Lab test always required Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong Non communicable
Symptoms
Loss of consciousness. Seizures

Popular Health Tips

Epilepsy - Signs and Symptoms You Must Know!

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MD - Psychiatry, DPM
Psychiatrist, Jamshedpur
Epilepsy - Signs and Symptoms You Must Know!

Epilepsy is a disorder in the central nervous system characterized by recurrent seizures. An unexpected rush of electrical activity inside the brain leads to a seizure. Brain activity becomes abnormal and leads to periods of unusual behaviour with loss of awareness at times.

Seizures do not always include unusual muscle movements or convulsions. Untreated seizures can seriously affect the lives of children having them. Epilepsy affects both men and women regardless of their ethnic background and age.

Signs of Epilepsy:

  • A staring spell
  • Momentary bewilderment
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Jerking movements of arms and legs.
  • Panic or anxiety

Kinds of Seizures:
Seizures are normally classified as focal or generalized depending on the commencement of abnormal brain activity.

  1. Focal (partial) seizures result from abnormal activity in a particular area of the person's brain. Simple partial seizures may change emotions or the way things smell, appear, feel, sound or taste. It is characterized by tingling and dizziness.
  2. Complex partial seizures or focal seizures with impaired awareness entail a modification of or loss of awareness and consciousness. Repetitive movements are performed during such seizures such as hand rubbing, walking in circles or swallowing.

Thorough testing is needed to differentiate epilepsy from other neurological disorders such as narcolepsy, migraine or mental illness.

Generalized seizures normally affect all areas of the brain and consist of:

  • Tonic seizures lead to muscle stiffness and normally affects muscles in the person's back, legs and arms.
  • Atonic seizures or drop seizures lead to a loss of muscle control which makes a person abruptly collapse or fall down.
  • Myoclonic seizures are visible as short jerks or twitches of a person's arms and legs.
  • Clonic seizures are characterized by repetitive or rhythmic jerking muscle movements.
  • Tonic-clonic seizures cause sudden loss of consciousness, quivering and body stiffening.
  • Absence seizures might take place in clusters and lead to momentary loss of awareness.

Symptoms of Epilepsy:
The main symptoms of epilepsy are seizures and it differs from one person to another.

Symptoms of Focal (partial) seizures include:

  • Dizziness
  • Change or modification in the sense of smell, taste, hearing, sight or touch.
  • Twitching and tingling of limbs.

Symptoms of Complex partial seizures include:

  • Unresponsiveness
  • Staring blankly
  • Performing repetitive movements
  • Loss of awareness or consciousness

Genetics may provide a person with a natural seizure threshold as a person who is susceptible to seizure triggers is said to have inherited a low seizure threshold. A higher threshold conversely makes a person less liable to have seizures.

Epilepsy is a comparatively common neurological disorder that affects innumerable people worldwide and treatments range from medication to surgery.

3 people found this helpful

Defect In Colon - How Colostomy Can Be Of Help?

M.Ch - Paediatric Surgery, MBBS, MS - General Surgery
Pediatric Surgeon, Hyderabad
Defect In Colon - How Colostomy Can Be Of Help?

Colostomies often get used in situations of Imperforate Anus along with other conditions where a paediatrician finds a defect in the colon or in the large intestine.

Selection of Pouch
Pouch systems are available in many styles as well as sizes. They include:

  • A sticky kind of wafer which adheres to the skin and a pouch to collect the stool.
  • One piece pouch has the wafer along with the pouch joined together as a single unit.
  • The two piece system consists of wafer and pouch in a separate manner.
  • There are also open-ended pouches and close-ended pouches
  • Open end pouches are most commonly used as they help people to easily out the pouch of air and stool

Changing the Pouch - Procedure
The frequency, with which the change of pouch takes place, depends upon a number of things. A pouch must be changed after it has been there for a number of days.
The good time to get a pouch changed is before a meal or a number of hours after eating, where there is less of stoma draining.

The procedure involves:

  • Carefully removing the old pouch with mineral oil. Wash and keep the reusable clip aside.
  • A child could be given bath in the tub or shower with the pouch off.
  • Keep an eye on the stoma for changes in size and color. There could a slight bleeding from the stoma.
  • If the stoma is round, make use of the precut template to find a pattern that fits perfectly.
  • A perfect fit means that no skin should be visible around the stoma.
  • In case the stoma is irregular in shape, then use a firm piece of clear plastic to mark a pattern of the stoma.
  • Make use of the template to find an opening on the wafer.
  • Then cut the tracing with sharp scissors
  • Smooth out the rough areas with finger
  • Warm the wafer in the hand to help soften it.
  • Apply Cavilon 3M no sting barrier film to skin around the stoma.
  • If paste is used, it must be applied in a sparing manner to the wafer around the hand cut opening.
  • Press the pouch on the skin by using light pressure with the hand, hence making the attachment secure.
  • Apply clip to the end of pouch.
  • Make the pouch empty once it gets 1/3 filled with air or stool.
  • Change the whole pouch when the wafer becomes loose from the skin.
  • Do not flush the pouch down the toilet.

Neurological Disorders - What Triggers Them?

MBBS, MD - Medicine, DM - Neurology
Neurologist, Gurgaon
Neurological Disorders - What Triggers Them?

Neurological disorders are referred to as disorders of the nervous system that occur due to structural, biochemical or electrical abnormalities in the brain, spinal cord or nerves. They are diseases of central and peripheral nervous system.

Types of neurological disorders:
As any disease of the nervous system is a neurological disorder, there are many types of them; as many as more than 600 diseases. Some of the most common are-

  • Stroke: It can occur suddenly if the flow of the blood to the brain stops and it leads to further brain damage. The two kinds of strokes are Hemorrhagic and Ischemic. Blood clots or blocking of the blood vessels causes these attacks.
  • Migraine: It is a chronic neurological disorder that causes frequent headaches. It can last for two days or more.
  • Brain tumors: Rapid growth of abnormal brain cells results in brain tumors. They can be malignant or benign.
  • Multiple Sclerosis: This disease damages the myelin sheath or the protective layer surrounding the nerve cells.
  • Spinal Cord Disorders: Head injuries, blocked blood supply, fractured bone, tumor in the spinal cord, its compression and infection causes these disorders.

Few more neurological disorders are
Muscular dystrophy and Huntington’s disease, caused by faulty genes. Spina bifida, caused by problems with the nervous system development. Degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease - MeningitisEpilepsy.

Causes of neurological disorders:
The causes of neurological disorders are quite diverse. The nervous system has numerous membranes of which the nerve is a vulnerable and delicate spot that can be injured and damaged easily. These disorders have a number of causes

  1. Lifestyle-related
  2. Genetics
  3. Infections
  4. Nutrition-related
  5. Environmental influences
  6. Physical injuries

Symptoms of neurological disorder:
Symptoms of neurological disorders can be emotional or neurological, as well as indicative of other disorders and conditions. Some physical symptoms are

  1. Paralysis
  2. Weakness of muscle
  3. Loss of sensation
  4. Seizures
  5. Difficulty with reading and writing
  6. Poor cognitive abilities
  7. Unexpected pain
  8. Decreased alertness
  9. Headaches
  10. Blurry vision
  11. Fatigue
  12. Changes in behavior
  13. Numbness of arms and legs
  14. Slurry speech
  15. Tremors

Symptoms of stroke

  1. Dizziness
  2. Weakness and sudden numbness of face, arms or legs
  3. Severe headache
  4. Trouble with speech
  5. Loss of balance

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3305 people found this helpful

Epilepsy - Know The Most Common Types!

M. Ch (Neuro Surgery), MS - General Surgery, MBBS
Neurologist, Gurgaon
Epilepsy - Know The Most Common Types!

The brain contains numerous nerve cells which help in its normal functioning. Epilepsy or seizures occur when there is a disruption in the activity of the nerve cells in the brain. A neurological disorder of the CNS (Central Nervous System), epilepsy can affect all and sundry, irrespective of their age, sex and ethnicity. However, children and aged people (above 60 years) are more susceptible to the condition. A study suggests approximately 10 million people in India suffer from epilepsy.

Types of Epilepsy
Based on the activity of the brain that causes an epileptic attack, Epilepsy can be of two types - Focal or Generalized
Focal Epilepsy: An epileptic attack triggered by unusual activities restricted to a particular area of the brain.

  • In some cases, focal epilepsy may result in unconsciousness. A person may also lose awareness and become unresponsive (keeps staring into space), a condition termed as Focal Dyscognitive Seizures. A person with this condition may behave strange, such as walking in circles, chewing or rubbing their hands.
  • In another type of focal epilepsy known as Focal seizures without loss of consciousness, a person does not lose consciousness. In such cases, there may be sudden and involuntary jerking of the arms or the legs. There may also be dizziness or a tingling sensation.

Generalized Epilepsy: Here, the seizures or epilepsy result from unusual activities throughout the brain. Generalized epilepsy, may, in turn, be of the following subtypes

  • Tonic seizures: This affects the muscles of the legs, arms, or the back, causing them to stiffen and tighten up.
  • Atonic seizures: Here, a person may suddenly fall down due to loss of muscle control. The condition is also known as Drop Seizures.
  • Absence seizures: Mostly affecting children, the affected person may lose awareness (temporary) and behave strangely such as staring into spacing, smacking their lips, or blinking their eyes continuously.
  • Clonic seizures: They are characterized by sudden and continuous jerking movements of the arms, face, and neck muscles.
  • Tonic-clonic seizures: Here, a person may suddenly lose consciousness. There are violent shaking and stiffening of the body. Some people may even be seen biting their tongue.
  • Myoclonic seizures: In this arms, and legs of a person suddenly twitches and jerks.

What triggers an Epilepsy?
Epilepsy may be an outcome of the following factors

  • Medical conditions such as stroke or even brain tumors may affect the normal activities of the brain, thereby resulting in epilepsy. Diseases such as Viral Encephalitis, AIDS or Meningitis act also act as a trigger, accelerating the chances of epilepsy.
  • Developmental disorders such as Neurofibromatosis or Autism can also trigger epilepsy.
  • In some cases, epilepsy may be a genetic predisposition. Thus, a person with a family history of epilepsy may suffer from the condition.
  • Epilepsy may also be an outcome of a prenatal brain injury due to oxygen deficiency or an infection to the mother.
  • People with dementia may also suffer from an epileptic attack.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

1964 people found this helpful

Seizures - 3 Ways It Can Be Treated!

MCh - Neurosurgery, MS-General Surgery, MBBS
Neurosurgeon, Delhi
Seizures - 3 Ways It Can Be Treated!

The primary aim of the treatment in patients suffering from seizure is leasing a seizure-free life without giving way to any adverse effects. This goal can be accomplished in over 60 percent people with the help of anticonvulsants. Some patients also experience adverse effects since they suffer from a seizure which is refractory to medical therapy. Here are some of the common treatment options for seizures:

  1. Monotherapy: Sometimes, monotherapy is given as it reduces the chance of all sorts of adverse effects and even avoids drug interactions. Moreover, this type of treatment approach is much less expensive than polytherapy since many older generation of the anticonvulsant agent comprises of hepatic enzyme which is responsible for reducing the serum level of the concomitant drug which leads to an increase in the dosage level of such medicines.
  2. Social And vocational rehabilitation: People suffering from problems in psychosocial adjustments after the diagnosis may also need social and vocational rehabilitation. Many physicians do not pay enough attention to the consequences that an epilepsy diagnosis may leave on the patient. For instance, people with epilepsy may have a fear of experiencing next attack of seizure and they may be unable to work at heights or drive.
  3. Consulting an expert: It is important to refer patients with intractable spells to epileptologist or neurologist for subsequent workup. A neurosurgical consultation may also be needed when the patient has to be treated surgically.

Importance of anticonvulsant therapy

Patients who have had already suffered from recurrent attacks of unprovoked seizure may need treatment with an anticonvulsant. This treatment is not recommended until the person has risk factors for suffering from the problem yet again. The primary means of treating seizure is anticonvulsant therapy where the most suitable drug is chosen based on accurate diagnosis of the syndrome as a response to specific anticonvulsants may vary from one patient to another. The difference in response may reflect the various pathophysiologic mechanisms in different types of seizures.

Types of anticonvulsant therapy
Some of the anticonvulsant therapy medication may have multiple action mechanism while some have an only single mechanism of action. Some of the most common variants of the therapy include:

  1. Neuronal potassium channel referred to as KCNQ opener
  2. Blockers of unique binding sites such as perampanel, gabapentin, and levetiracetam
  3. H-current modulators such as lamotrigine and gabapentin
  4. Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors such as zonisamide and topiramate
  5. Alpha-amino 3-hydroxy 5-methyl 4-isoxazole propionic acid receptor blockers like topiramate and perampanel.
  6. N and L-calcium channel blockers like zonisamide, valproate, topiramate, and lamotrigine

Even though there are so many types of drugs available, all of them cannot be used for the treatment of seizures. Doctors would evaluate the condition thoroughly before prescribing a medication that can be helpful in reducing the severity of the condition.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2733 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

Hi sir,I am 36 years old, I have my first fits or seizure in sleep 18 years back. This happened when I lost my mother, before night I got severe headache like nerves pain, after three days I faced epileptic. Then onwards im facing two to 3 times in a year, and first medication I had enchoratechrono 300 mg for 3 yrs, due to relocation with a suggestion of another neurologist I had ZEPTOL CR 200 mg with missdosed some times and some days, in summer 3 months back I roamed a lot in hot sun, getting very tired night I had fits in sleep by 2 am then I gone for treatment ,i had videoEEG, MRI and got result everything negative ,no clots found ,but suggested according to my first medication VALPARIN OR VALPROL CR 300 MG, and all of the above I used to drink alcohol, recently I had seizure in day time that to a hurriness to avoid a car come over me, I felt vomiting sensation, anxiety and at last I tried to call somebody for help but unable to speak gradually I lost my consciousness and wake up after sometime ,i do not know what happened. So can you suggest me which medicine I have to follow, what type of epilepsy is mine focal or general. Thank you.

BASM, MD, MS (Counseling & Psychotherapy), MSc - Psychology, Certificate in Clinical psychology of children and Young People, Certificate in Psychological First Aid, Certificate in Positive Psychology, Positive Psychiatry and Mental Health
Psychologist, Palakkad
Dear user. I can understand. Please don't be panic. I suggest you to consult a neurologist in person. We are here to help you in every aspect of your mental and physical health. Any sexual or psychological problems can be cured with the help of various methods and therapies. I suggest you to post your query with every detail here. We will help you in overcoming your problems certainly. Take care.
1 person found this helpful

Febrile seizure/convulsions happened my 34 month daughter "duration 20 second" due to typhoid. When she is 11 month, febrile convulsion happened duration less than 60 second" due to respiratory infection with high fever. My question is (1) the reason behind it. (2) it is related to epilepsy. (3) we should visit to pediatric neurologist.

mch neuro surgery, MS
Neurosurgeon, Hyderabad
Febrile convulsions are common in the paediatric age group, reason is due to irritability of brain due to toxins especially pgi group liberated during the infection, when seizure activity occuring only at the time of high fever, nothing to worry, give the antipyretic medication and cold sponging and adequate hydration at the time of fever, for further queries you better consultant a paediatrician.

Table of Content

What is Epilepsy?

Types of seizures:

Play video
Epilepsy (Seizure Disorder)
Hello everyone, I am Dr Atma Ram Bansal, an epilepsy expert at Medanta Medicity, Gurgaon. Today s topic is how to deal with epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a very common problem, it affects all age groups of the patients, starting from very small kids, infants, adults and even elderly. The most important thing about epilepsy is the diagnosis. You should know what type of epilepsy is affecting you, because the treatment, the type of medicine, the duration of treatment depends on the type of epilepsy. Majority of patients can be treated through 3 years to 5 years, but some patients if it is a very small epilepsy, benign epilepsy, we can stop the medication in 6 months to one year. If it is difficult kind of epilepsy we may have to give treatment for even lifelong.
So, whether it is focal epilepsy, that is starting from one part of the brain or whether it is generalized epilepsy where the whole brain is getting excited, it is not a psychiatric problem; it is not a problem due to supernatural powers or something like that. It is a pure neurological issue, it can be treated by medications. MRI, good quality and EEG, especially during sleep helps us to know the type of epilepsy.

There are certain things that you should know while handling epilepsy. One, first aid; when you are getting a seizure or your family member is getting a seizure, you should know how to handle it. Firstly, when there are jerkings, when the body is jerking, don t try to hold the arms and legs to stop those jerks, that can damage the bones. Once the jerks are over, turn the person to one side so that if there is any saliva or liquid, that goes outside. Don t give anything by mouth that includes your spoon, any kind of liquid, any kind of cloth or anything like that. Don t put your finger in the mouth that will not help. If there is a tongue bite, you cannot prevent it. Only thing is if you give something by mouth, the liquid that can go into the lungs and that can create problems for breathing.

Regarding treatment, if we know the type of epilepsy, most of the patients with one medication can easily be controlled. Some patients may need two-three medications and there are some 10-20 blood sugar patients for whom this medication won t work. In those cases, we will prefer to do some more tests like video EEG. In those cases, we admit the patient, stop their medication and record the seizures. By recording the seizures we know that this particular part of the brain is abnormal and then even surgery can be considered in those cases. In some patients, especially children, a special diet like ketogenic diet is also effective. So if you can make a video during that attack, or if somebody is having those attacks, that video will definitely help in making the diagnosis. It s not that epilepsy is a big factor in stopping your growth in life, it can easily be held and it can be treated, and if you are comfortable enough, if you are confident enough in such a scenario, you can lead a normal life, you can achieve a big milestone in your life without any problem. Only thing is that you take medicine at an appropriate time, take adequate sleep, avoid alcohol, smoking, and live a healthy life, you can do whatever you want, that will not create any problem.

Be positive, stay healthy, take medicines regularly, and if you have any question, you can meet me at Medanta Medicity, Gurgaon, or you can contact via Lybrate.

Thank you.
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice