Common Specialities
{{speciality.keyWord}}
Common Issues
{{issue.keyWord}}
Common Treatments
{{treatment.keyWord}}

Overview

Last Updated: September 23, 2019
Change Language

Epilepsy - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Epilepsy? What are the Symptoms Of Epilepsy? What is the Root Cause of Epilepsy? What are the Precautions for Epilepsy? How to Diagnose Epilepsy? What is the Most Common Treatment for Epilepsy? What are the side effects for the epilepsy treatment? What are the Risk factors for epilepsy? What are the Complications for epilepsy? What is the Best Home Remedy for Epilepsy? What Foods Can Trigger Epilepsy?

What is Epilepsy?

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.

What are the Symptoms Of Epilepsy?

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:

  • Staring spell
  • Temporary confusion
  • Uncontrolled jerking of hands or legs
  • Loss of awareness or consciousness
  • Psychotic symptoms which include anxiety
  • Fear
  • Deja vu

What is the Root Cause of Epilepsy?

The cause of epilepsy is not identifiable but the traces have been found which include:

  1. Genetic influence:

    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.

  2. Head trauma:

    This can be the result of an accident or any severe injury.

  3. Brain condition:

    The condition of the brain is also very important as if there is any damage, stroke or trauma then it can cause epilepsy.

  4. Infectious disease:

    Like AIDS, meningitis, and viral encephalitis can be one of the causes for epilepsy.

What are the Precautions for Epilepsy?

  • Blood sugar and sodium are at abnormal levels
  • Get plenty of sleep, keep a sleep schedule and stick to it
  • Avoid taking drugs and alcohol
  • Avoid playing video games, watching TV and computers continuously
  • Do not skip the medicines prescribed by your doctor
  • Try to cope up with a healthy diet plan
  • Replace glass with plastic in order to avoid cuts during seizures
  • Swimming alone should be avoided
  • Wear a helmet while biking, hiking, playing to avoid head injuries
  • Don't use the electrical appliance near water, in case of seizure you may electrocute yourself
  • Take showers instead of baths
  • Keep the doors, windows open. During the seizure time, your loved ones may approach you fast
  • Make your child or the patient wear a medical alert bracelet at all times
  • Educate your child or the patient about his or her medical conditions, precautionary methods during seizures.
  • Assist the patients during washroom or other activities if the patient is an elderly person.

How to Diagnose Epilepsy?

To diagnose epilepsy doctor may recommend various tests that include the following:

  • A neurological exam:

    If have any behavioural change or change in motor abilities or in any problem in body part then you will be recommended neurological exam.

  • Blood test:

    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.

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG):

    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.

  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan:

    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.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):

    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.

  • Positron emission tomography (PET):

    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.

What is the Most Common Treatment for Epilepsy?

Treatment for epilepsy are as follows:

  • 1. Medication: It has been seen that most of the time anti-seizure medication can cure or help in curing seizures. These medications are also known as anti-epilepsic medication. But these medications also have some side effects which include: weight gain Fatigue, dizziness, loss of coordination, skin rash, loss of bone density, and speech problems.

    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.

    3. Therapies:

    • Vagus nerve stimulation:

      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.

    • Ketogenic diet:

      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.

    • Deep brain stimulation:

      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.

  • What are the side effects for the epilepsy treatment?

    Side effects include:

    • Rash
    • Prolonged fever
    • Mouth ulcers
    • Sore throat
    • Weakness
    • Pinpoint bleeding
    • Excessive fatigue
    • Increased seizure
    • Excessive fatigue
    • Severe throat pain

    What are the Risk factors for epilepsy?

    These are the factors which may increase the risk of epilepsy:

    • Age:

      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.

    • Family history:

      If any member of the family is suffering or has suffered through epilepsy then there can be a risk of developing a seizure disorder.

    • Dementia:

      If you have dementia then the risk of epilepsy increases by itself.

    • Brain infection:

      Infection or diseases such as meningitis can cause inflammation or in the spinal cord thus increasing the risk.

    • Stroke or another vascular disease:

      If you have the problem of stroke or any other vascular disease then it can damage the brain and can result in epilepsy.

    What are the Complications for epilepsy?

    These are the following complications that can happen due to epilepsy:

    • Falling:

      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.

    • Drowning:

      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.

    • Accidents:

      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.

    • The complication in pregnancy:

      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.

    • Emotional issues:

      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.

    What is the Best Home Remedy for Epilepsy?

    Some of the anti-epileptic medicines are Clonazepam, Gabapentin, Phenytoin, Tiagabine, Topiramate, Rufinamide, Oxcarbazepine, Acetazolamide, Carbamazepine etc.

    • Children are usually intolerable to the side effects of AEDs. A high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet shows some success in reducing seizures in them. This is less restrictive and shown positive effects.
    • Garlic has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties that work out well in seizures and other associated symptoms.
    • Herbs namely passionflower, valerian, chamomile may make the drugs more effective and promote calming effects in the brain.
    • Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Magnesium and taurine help in reducing episodes of seizures.
    • Acupuncture and chiropractic support in mitigating anxiety and stress.

    • Aromatherapy using lavender oil, jasmine and chamomile reduce the stress and anxiety thus reduces seizure attacks.

    What Foods Can Trigger Epilepsy?

    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.

    • Dairy Products: In recent decades, it has been found that dairy products induce allergies among children. So, cut down the usage of dairy products in order to reduce the episodes of seizures.
    • Gluten: Some people have gluten-intolerance. The proteins in the grains have an inflammatory property that would trigger seizures.
    • Sleep deprivation is a predominant trigger for seizures. Hence, have enough sleep
    • Antibiotics like penicillin and painkillers like tramadol might increase the risk of seizures.

    Popular Questions & Answers

    My mother (50 years) had seizure once last year all of a sudden. Now she is taking levetiracetam 500 twice daily. I can feel that theres a lot of mental changes she have now. Unreasonable anger, anxiety, emotional changes. Can I give her brahmi tabs. Or brahmi related things to improve her brain condition. Kindly suggest me doctor.

    She should be investigated further if she hads first time seizure at this age. Continue leviteracetam for her seizure disorder, post ictal confusion adn psychological changes occur but may be transient, better to get evaluated by a psychiatrist or...
    2 people found this helpful

    Which medicine is the best levera 750 mg. Or divaa 750 mg? I am very upset .which medicine I give to my son / one doctor said levera and another said divaa ?please guide as urgent basis.

    Both are different and good medicines depends on type of epilepsy levera has less side effects compared to diva but diva is more efficacious.
    1 person found this helpful

    Popular Health Tips

    Epilepsy - When To Seek Medical Help?

    Epilepsy - When To Seek Medical Help?
    Epilepsy is a form of chronic disorder and it is characterized by recurrent seizures. The episodes of epileptic seizures may differ from person to person. These seizures could be a result of a genetic disorder or a result of trauma or stroke. Duri...
    5447 people found this helpful

    Epilepsy - Signs and Symptoms You Must Know!

    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...
    4297 people found this helpful

    Defect In Colon - How Colostomy Can Be Of Help?

    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. T...
    9 people found this helpful

    Neurological Disorders - What Triggers Them?

    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 ...
    3306 people found this helpful

    Epilepsy - Know The Most Common Types!

    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), epile...
    1966 people found this helpful
    Content Details
    Written By
    MBBS,MS - General Surgery,MCh - Neuro Surgery
    Neurology
    Play video
    Seizure Or Epilepsy
    Hi, I am Dr. Sankalp Mohan hoon, neurologist, Vashi, Navi Mumbai. Aaj hum baat karenge seizures ya epilepsy ki. Ab seizures kya hain? Seizures ko hum aam bhasha mein mirgi, daura, fit ya aakdi bhi kehte hain. Seizures ke lakshan kya hai? Seizure k...
    Play video
    Epilepsy
    Hello, I am Dr. Namit Gupta, Neurologist. Today I will talk about epilepsy. Ye ek neurological disorder hai. Ye timely treat kia ja skta hai. Iska cause hai brain injury at the early age of childhood. Adults me iska cause hai infection like tuberc...
    Play video
    Epilepsy
    Namaskar, I am Dr. Rakesh Kumar, Neurologist. Aaj me apko epilepsy ke bare me btaunga. Is bimari ko thik kia ja skta hai. Iske symptoms hain suddenly hath me shivering hona, Aankhen upar ho jana, face right or left side hona. Yadi kisi bache ka dh...
    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, infa...
    Play video
    Drug-Resistant Epilepsy
    Epilepsy is a relatively common disorder. Most cases of epilepsy can be controlled with a combination of drug therapy and healthy lifestyle. In some cases, surgery may also be advised. Epilepsy affects not only the lifestyle of the patient but als...
    Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice