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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

When Is Surgery Not An Option For Epilepsy?

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MS - General Surgery, Mch - Neurosurgery, FLCS
Neurosurgeon, Ghaziabad
When Is Surgery Not An Option For Epilepsy?

Living with epilepsy can be highly challenging. This is a medical condition that can be controlled with medications in most cases, but it might not be useful for all patients due to severe side effects. It is estimated that up to 30% people who have epilepsy face this issue, and in such cases, surgery might be considered as an option.

This condition typically results in seizures which is a result of sudden electrical activity in the brain. So, certain complicated epilepsy operations on the brain can help patients with their seizures and contain their symptoms.

The goal of epilepsy surgeries involves removing part of the brain that causes these seizures and disrupting parts of the nervous system in the brain that contribute to the same. The procedure also involves the installation of a device that helps control the side effects of epilepsy.

When is surgery not an option for epilepsy?
Doctors would accurately identify the part of the brain that is causing seizures as the first step. These parts are known in medical terms as the ‘seizure’ focus. This area should not be related critical functions of the brain like movement, sensation, and language involved – else surgery would not be possible.

Surgery is not viable when seizures are severe and impair bodily movement or if the patient has serious medical conditions (like cancer or heart diseases).

Common Surgery Options Available

  1. Lesionectomy: This is one of the most commonly used procedures. This form of surgery involves the surgeon removing brain lesions from the brain or areas of injury due to malformed blood vessels or tumors. These injuries can often cause seizures and epilepsy and can be treated effectively with lesionectomy.
  2. Lobe resection: This is another form of treatment which is possible only if the epilepsy is located in one of the four parts of the brain – the temporal lobe. It is quite common in younger people and can easily be treated by expert neurosurgeons by removing the brain tissues that are causing epilepsy.
  3. Multiple Subpial Transections: While the above methods involve cutting out brain tissues, sometimes such surgeries just might not be possible due to other complications. If the parts of the brain cannot be cut out, surgeons tend to adopt Multiple Subpial Transections. This procedure can help control seizures without requiring cutting out parts of the brain. Small intersections are made in the brain to disrupt the impulses from affected brain cells that cause seizures, and they do not affect normal brain activity. It helps leave all abilities intact in patients and aids in treatment very effectively.

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

2519 people found this helpful

Severe Case Of Epilepsy - How One Can Deal With It?

DNB (Neuro-Surgeon), MBBS
Neurosurgeon, Delhi
Severe Case Of Epilepsy - How One Can Deal With It?

The word epilepsy brings to mind visions of people frothing at the mouth and rolling on the ground. However, epilepsy affects each patient in a different way. This can make it hard to recognize at times. In the more serious cases of epilepsy, an epileptic attack can make a patient injure himself or develop other life threatening conditions. In rare cases, epilepsy can even cause death. Thus it becomes imperative to understand how to deal with epilepsy.

Treatment options for epilepsy can be categorized as medication, surgical procedures and dietary changes.

Medication
Medication for epilepsy is prescribed on the basis of the symptoms presented and the type of epilepsy the patient is suffering from. In most cases, seizures can be controlled with a single type of medication, but in others, the doctor may need to prescribe a combination of medicines to control epilepsy. These forms of medication do have side effects and hence any reactions to the medication must be immediately brought to the doctor's notice. The dosage for epilepsy medication may need to be varied with time. An epileptic patient should never discontinue medication on their own.

Surgery
Depending on the type of seizures and the area of the brain affected, a doctor may advise surgery in cases of severe epilepsy. Surgery can help reduce the number of seizures experienced or completely stop them. Surgery to treat epilepsy is of many types. Some of the common procedures are:

1. Surgery to remove tumor of any such conditions that may be triggering the epileptic attacks
2. Surgery to remove a small section of the brain from where a seizure originates. This may also be referred to as a lobectomy.
3. Multiple subpial transaction or a surgery that involves making a series of cuts in the brain to prevent the seizures from spreading to other parts of the brain.
4. Surgery to sever the neural connections between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
5. Surgery to remove half the brain's cortex or outer layer

Dietary changes
A diet rich in fats and low in carbohydrates can help reduce seizures. This is known as a ketogenic diet and aims at making the body break down fats instead of carbohydrates. It can cause a buildup of uric acid in the body and thus should be practiced only under the guidance of a dietician. In cases where epileptic attacks are triggered by malnutrition and birth defects, taking vitamin supplements can help lower the frequency of seizures.

1 person found this helpful

Epilepsy - Ways Surgery Can Help You!

DNB(Neurosurgery)
Neurosurgeon, Durgapur
Epilepsy - Ways Surgery Can Help You!

The word epilepsy brings to mind visions of people frothing at the mouth and rolling on the ground. However, epilepsy affects each patient in a different way. This can make it hard to recognize at times. In the more serious cases of epilepsy, an epileptic attack can make a patient injure himself or develop other life threatening conditions. In rare cases, epilepsy can even cause death. Thus it becomes imperative to understand how to deal with epilepsy.

Treatment options for epilepsy can be categorized as medication, surgical procedures and ​dietary changes.

Medication
Medication for epilepsy is prescribed on the basis of the symptoms presented and the type of epilepsy the patient is suffering from. In most cases, seizures can be controlled with a single type of medication, but in others, the doctor may need to prescribe a combination of medicines to control epilepsy. These forms of medication do have side effects and hence any reactions to the medication must be immediately brought to the doctor's notice. The dosage for epilepsy medication may need to be varied with time. An epileptic patient should never discontinue medication on their own.

Surgery
Depending on the type of seizures and the area of the brain affected, a doctor may advise surgery in cases of severe epilepsy. Surgery can help reduce the number of seizures experienced or completely stop them. Surgery to treat epilepsy is of many types. Some of the common procedures are:

1. Surgery to remove tumor of any such conditions that may be triggering the epileptic attacks
2. Surgery to remove a small section of the brain from where a seizure originates. This may also be referred to as a lobectomy.
3. Multiple subpial transaction or a surgery that involves making a series of cuts in the brain to prevent the seizures from spreading to other parts of the brain.
4. Surgery to sever the neural connections between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
5. Surgery to remove half the brain's cortex or outer layer

Dietary changes
A diet rich in fats and low in carbohydrates can help reduce seizures. This is known as a ketogenic diet and aims at making the body break down fats instead of carbohydrates. It can cause a buildup of uric acid in the body and thus should be practiced only under the guidance of a dietician. In cases where epileptic attacks are triggered by malnutrition and birth defects, taking vitamin supplements can help lower the frequency of seizures. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2091 people found this helpful

What are Absence Seizures?

MBBS, Diploma In Child Health
Pediatrician, Hyderabad

What are absence seizures?

An absence seizure causes you to blank out or stare into space for a few seconds. They can also be called petit mal seizures. Absence seizures are most common in children and typically don’t cause any long-term problems. These types of seizures are often set off by a period of hyperventilation.

Absence seizures usually occur in children between ages 4 to 14. A child may have 10, 50, or even 100 absence seizures in a given day and they may go unnoticed. Most children who have typical absence seizures are otherwise normal. However, absence seizures can get in the way of learning and affect concentration at school. This is why prompt treatment is important.

Absence seizures are a type of epilepsy, a condition that causes seizures. Seizures are caused by abnormal brain activity. These mixed messages confuse your brain and cause a seizure.

Not everyone who has a seizure has epilepsy. Usually, a diagnosis of epilepsy can be made after two or more seizures.

Absence seizures often occur along with other types of seizures that cause muscle jerking, twitching, and shaking. Absence seizures may be confused with other types of seizures. Doctors will pay close attention to your symptoms in order to make the right diagnosis. This is very important for effective and safe treatment of your seizures.

It’s uncommon for absence seizures to continue into adulthood, but it’s possible to have an absence seizure at any age.

What causes absence seizures?

Like other kinds of seizures, absence seizures are caused by abnormal activity in a person’s brain. Doctors often don’t know why this happens. Most absence seizures are less than 15 seconds long. It’s rare for an absence seizure to last longer than 15 seconds. They can happen suddenly without any warning signs.

What are the symptoms of absence seizures?

The easiest way to spot an absence seizure is to look for a blank stare that lasts for a few seconds. People in the midst of having an absence seizure don’t speak, listen, or appear to understand. An absence seizure doesn’t typically cause you to fall down. You could be in the middle of making dinner, walking across the room, or typing an e-mail when you have the seizure. Then suddenly you snap out of it and continue as you were before the seizure.

These are other possible symptoms of an absence seizure:

  • Being very still

  • Smacking the lips or making a chewing motion with the mouth

  • Fluttering the eyelids

  • Stopping activity (suddenly not talking or moving)

  • Suddenly returning to activity when the seizure ends

If you experience jerking motions, it may be a sign of another type of seizure taking place along with the absence seizure.

How are absence seizures diagnosed?

You may have absence seizures repeatedly for years before heading to the doctor for a diagnosis. You may have “staring spells” without thinking of them as a medical problem or a seizure.

An EEG is a test most often used to diagnose absence seizures. This test records the brain’s electrical activity and spots any abnormalities that could indicate an absence seizure.

These tests also can help to diagnose absence seizures or rule out other conditions:

  • Blood tests

  • Tests of the kidneys and liver

  • CT or MRI scans

  • Spinal tap to test the cerebrospinal fluid

How are absence seizures treated?

Absence seizures can affect your ability to perform at work or school, so it’s a good idea to see your healthcare provider about treatment.

Absence seizures can be treated with a number of different antiseizure medicines. The type of medicine that your healthcare provider recommends you take will also depend on what other seizure disorder you may have. If you have more than one type of seizure disorder, you may need to take multiple medicines.

Can absence seizures be prevented?

Taking your medicines exactly as your doctor prescribed is one of the best ways to manage absence seizures. But you can also make some changes in your life to help prevent absence seizures from happening. These include:

  • Get plenty of sleep each night.

  • Find ways to manage your stress.

  • Eat a healthy diet.

  • Exercise regularly.

Living with absence seizures

Most people with epilepsy live full and active lives with medicine and other lifestyle changes. But it can be challenging at times to manage large and small life events when you have epilepsy. Depending on your age and the severity and type of epilepsy, you may need support with the following:

  • Behavioral and emotional issues. It is important to get enough sleep and manage stress when you have epilepsy. Stress and lack of sleep can trigger seizures. If you have trouble sleeping, talk with your healthcare provider about how to make sure you get enough sleep. Learn coping techniques that will help you manage stress and anxiety.

  • Employment. With proper treatment, people with epilepsy can do just about any job safely and effectively. But, certain jobs in which there is a high risk to public safety may not be an option. Epilepsy is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This law prohibits discrimination against people with epilepsy and other disabilities.

  • Coping with discrimination and stigma. Children and adults with epilepsy may face discrimination and struggle to overcome the stigma associated with this neurological condition. Help educate family, friends, co-workers, and classmates on your condition. Let them know what to expect and how to help during a seizure.

  • Education. Children with epilepsy may be entitled to special services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Working closely with the child’s teacher and school nurse will help improve management of epilepsy at school. It’s important for parents of children with epilepsy to balance safety and fun. Allow your child to have some age-appropriate independence and participate in sports and other activities at school, when possible.

  • Driving. Each state has different driving laws for people with epilepsy. Licensing may depend on how severe seizures are and how well they are controlled. Consider public transportation where it is available. If you continue to have absence seizures, it may not be safe for you to drive.

  • Support and online resources. You may feel alone in dealing with day-to-day life with epilepsy, but be assured that many people have epilepsy. You can find local support groups through your healthcare provider or local hospital. Many online resources give tools and tips for managing this condition. Online social media support groups bring together people from all over the world who are managing their epilepsy. These groups provide support and encouragement.

If you have trouble managing your absence seizures, you may want to work more closely with your healthcare provider to find a better way to treat them.

Key points about absence seizures

  • Absence seizures are seizures that generally last just a few seconds, and are characterized by a blank or “absent” stare.

  • Absence seizures usually occur in children between ages 4 to 14, but it’s possible to have an absence seizure at any age.

  • Absence seizures are easy to miss, but tests and an evaluation of symptoms can diagnose them.

  • Healthcare providers can usually help find the right mix of medications and lifestyle changes to manage absence seizures.

  • Without treatment, school performance, work, and relationships can suffer.

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

Popular Questions & Answers

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.

Epilepsy treatment 6-7 year Neurologist from rajkot and medicine 1-Encorate chrono 500, 2-Lobazam 10 mg, dose continue 6-7 year. Any side effect for above Mention medicine. And any permanent solution for epilepsy.

C.S.C, D.C.H, M.B.B.S
General Physician, Alappuzha
Resective surgery is the most common type of surgery for treating epilepsy. If you have epilepsy, your doctor can use MRI to learn where seizures occur in your brain. ... They may also remove a brain lesion, a brain lobe, or a portion of a brain lobe. The most common type of resective surgery is a temporal lobectomy
1 person found this helpful

I am taking levera 500 mg tablet because I got fit in last 3 months back when I should leave that tablets.

MD - Homeopathy, BHMS
Homeopath, Vadodara
It cannot be left if you have periodic fits.. It can be stopped if you have no fit in 3 years... You can take Homoeopathic treatment to cure it...