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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 - 5 Common Facts About It!

MBBS, MD-Medicine, DM - Neurology, MBA, PGD Hospital Administration, PGD Echocardiography, Fellow Neuro-Sonology, PGD Sonology
Neurologist, Jalandhar
Epilepsy - 5 Common Facts About It!

Over 60 million people around the world suffer from epilepsy. This can be described as a brain disorder that causes seizures. However, it is important to note that seizures are not synonymous with epilepsy. A patient may be diagnosed with epilepsy only if there have two or more seizures that are unrelated to other medical conditions. Here are five facts you should know about epilepsy.

An epileptic person can have many different types of seizures.
Seizures are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain cells. There are many different types of seizures. Seizures can make a person make abnormal movements, make him or her stare into space, make him or her unable to speak or make them shake vigorously and fall to the ground. Some seizures are easy to identify while others may go unnoticed.

Epilepsy can be caused by many factors
There are a number of factors that can cause epilepsy. The most common amongst them are - deprivation of oxygen at the time of birth, brain infections, head injuries, stroke, neurological diseases, tumors and genetic disorders. Infections can also cause epilepsy. In some cases, the actual cause may be difficult to identify.

A healthy diet, protecting the head from trauma (by wearing a helmet) and exercising can help prevent epilepsy. Expectant mothers should also follow a healthy prenatal plan.

The effect of epilepsy is much more in women as compared to men
Both men and women are susceptible to epilepsy. However, epilepsy can be harder to manage in women. This is because of their hormone structure. Pregnancy can also make epilepsy hard to manage and the seizures could also affect the baby. Thus, it is essential for pregnant mothers with epilepsy to take extra precautions and follow their doctor’s advice strictly.

Epilepsy can be treated
Though epilepsy cannot be cured, there are many ways of treating epilepsy. The best form of treatment depends on the patient’s medical history and neurological exams. Medication to stop seizures is the most common form of treatment. A special diet may also be prescribed along with this. In some cases, surgery may also be advised. Nerve stimulation may also be used to treat this condition.

Epilepsy is not contagious
Anyone can suffer from epilepsy but it cannot be transferred from one person to another. Thus, if you see someone having a stroke, you must immediately try to help them without worrying about your own health. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

1987 people found this helpful

Epilepsy - Things You Must Take Care Of!

MBBS, MD - Medicine, DM - Neurology
Neurologist, Gurgaon
Epilepsy - Things You Must Take Care Of!

The chronic disorder that causes recurrent and unprovoked seizures is referred to as Epilepsy. A seizure is an impulsive and unexpected rush of activity in the brain. The reasons for the cause of epilepsy include head trauma, high fever, low blood sugar, and alcohol withdrawal. It is a neurological disorder and more than 3 million people in the United States have been affected by epilepsy. The chronic disorder is common not only in adults but even in young children and it has been observed that it occurs more in males. The disorder can merely be controlled by the use of various strategies as there is no cure for it till date.

Causes of epilepsy
Any illness that disturbs the usual form of neuron activity can lead to seizures. There are many possible causes of epilepsy. The 2 main types of seizures include partial/focal seizure and generalized seizure. The partial seizure would affect only one part of the brain. It is difficult to identify mild seizures. Further, stronger seizures are known to cause uncontrollable muscle twitches and spasms. At the time of a strong seizure, a patient can lose his consciousness. On the other hand, generalized seizures affect both parts (cerebral hemispheres) of the brain so their onset is not easily identifiable. Types of generalized seizures include tonic-clonic, absence or atonic etc. The other important fact is that epilepsy progresses because of imbalance of neurotransmitters which are nerve-signaling chemicals and also due to an abnormality in the brain wiring.

Drugs used to treat epileptic seizures
Anticonvulsant drugs are mainly used to treat epileptic seizures. The type of treatment provided to patients mainly depends on factors like severity and frequency of the seizures. The other factors that are also taken into consideration for the type of treatment provided include medical history, overall health and the age of a person. A patient can feel better with a seizure medication, an implant that works on the nerves, a special diet, and surgery.
To control epileptic seizures medications are the best option and to treat the brain disorder the right medication needs to be used. There are nearly 20 drugs available that are used for treating different types of epileptic seizures. The doctors provide medication only after proper review of the patient’s medical history and their lifestyle. Some of the medications that are made include the use of antiepileptic drugs and anti-seizure drugs. The faulty signaling of the brain is suppressed with these medications.

Important precautions you must take

  • It is very important that the medication is taken as directed by the doctor. The main reason behind the use of these drugs is that they reduce the number of seizures and there are no side-effects.
  • Care should be taken that the drugs provided to the children to treat epilepsy are FDA approved and are safe for use by children.
  • The epilepsy drugs that can be taken for partial seizures include carbamazepine, phenytoin, valproic acid, valproate, and brivaracetam.

Natural treatments can also be made use of for epilepsy as at times medications do not work well on some patients. Acupuncture, use of natural herbs and vitamins can also be used for treating the brain disorder.

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

3436 people found this helpful

Myths About Seizures - Debunked!

MBBS, MD-Medicine, DM - Neurology, MBA, PGD Hospital Administration, PGD Echocardiography, Fellow Neuro-Sonology, PGD Sonology
Neurologist, Jalandhar
Myths About Seizures - Debunked!

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders. This condition can affect men and women of all ages. However, it is associated with a number of myths. As a result of these myths, epileptic patients are often discriminated against. Let’s bust a few of these myths.

Myth 1: Epilepsy is contagious
Coming in contact with an epileptic patient will not increase your risk of suffering from this condition. Epilepsy can be caused by a number of factors but is not transferable from one person to another. Factors triggering epilepsy include genetic defects, oxygen deprivation at birth, trauma to the head and strokes.

Myth 2: Epilepsy cannot be treated
There is no known cure for epilepsy but this condition can be managed with treatment. Treatment for epilepsy can take many forms. The most common amongst these is medication to reduce and stop seizures. In some cases, brain surgery may also be advised. A special diet can also help control epileptic attacks. Lastly, nerve stimulation may also be used to treat epilepsy.

Myth 3: Epileptic patients cannot lead a normal life

There is nothing stopping an epileptic patient from living a normal life like everyone else. Epilepsy does not affect a person’s intelligence or any other ability. It is also a misconception that epileptic women cannot have children or that their children will also have epilepsy. With treatment and a healthy prenatal plan, they can have a healthy pregnancy and give birth to a healthy child. However, certain activities like driving should be avoided by epileptic patients.

Myth 4: A person having an epileptic fit should be restrained
An epileptic seizure will run its course and restraining the person may do more harm than good. Instead, the person should be made to lie down on their side. This will keep saliva from collecting in their mouth. Clear the area around the person and loosen their clothing. If the person wears spectacles, these should be removed. Do not try and put anything into the person’s mouth. An epileptic fit usually lasts for up to 5 minutes. If the person does not recover within that time, call a doctor immediately.

Myth 5: Anyone who has a seizure is epileptic
Seizures are not synonymous with epilepsy. They can be triggered by a number of factors including excessive drinking, heat, injury to the head etc. To be diagnosed with epilepsy, a person should have had two or more seizures with unrelated triggers.

2 people found this helpful

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 - Meningitis, Epilepsy.

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!

3303 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

Popular Questions & Answers

My son is taking levipil 500 mg 2 times in a day since 2 months. Today I gave the him tablet late around an hour than regular time will their be any effect.

DM - Neurology, Fellowship in Stroke Neurology, MD - General Medicine, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
Neurologist, Kolkata
Dear friend, Please do not worry as you have done the right job by giving him the medicine even though it was slightly late. It should not affect much as a safe blood level is usually maintained unless it is very late or completely missed. However please remember you need to maintain the time henceforth. Wish you all the best!
1 person found this helpful

My father levipil 500 taken 3 tab per day. Actually what I know of you .it highest taken per day. One Dr. Tell me highest 2 tab taken limited.

MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine, Fellow In Pain Management, DM - Neurology
Neurologist, Gurgaon
it is not the highest dose..depends on weight of the patient ..1000 mg twice a day or total 2 gm..and sometimes 3 gm can also given

I take zapiz 1 mg ever day before bed. I want to quit zapiz and get natural sleep. Will there be any withdrawal effect. If I stop zapiz.

DM - Neurology, Fellowship in Stroke Neurology, MD - General Medicine, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
Neurologist, Kolkata
Dear lybrate-user, First of all congratulations for deciding to take the sleeping pill off. I don't know how long you are taking Zapiz and why you are taking it. This is very important as because ideally it should be taken maximum for 4 weeks (2-4 weeks) if you are taking it only for insomnia. It will not cause much problem if you have taken less than that. However if you are taking longer, you should first decrease it to 0.5 mg for few days, then 0.25 mg for few days and finally take it off. Please maintain a very good sleep hygiene during this process and thereafter. Wish you all the best!
2 people found this helpful

My younger brother recently died from heart attack! He was epilepsy patient from childhood around 14-15 years. He was overweight .Is epilepsy related to heart attack?

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MD - Psychiatry
Psychiatrist, Hyderabad
Unlikely, unless he has a heart problem also as co morbidity. Medications used in EWpilepsy may cause nonspecific cardiac problems.

I am having a minor seizure and I am taking medicine named valparin Chrono 200 and also my final exam s are going but my mind doesn't likes to study and my interest for study is decreasing is this due to valparin Chrono 200?

DNB (Neurosurgery) , MBBS
Neurosurgeon, Pune
Valuation does not have that action but stress due to examination can have that action. Also patients suffering from neurological issues are known to have stress which can reduce attention span and concentration abilities. Try practising techniques like yoga and pranayama etc. It might help you to regain the concentration needed for studies.

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