Epilepsy: What It Is, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Last modified date

Comments: 0

What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a condition of the nervous system that causes seizures. But having a seizure does not mean that a person has epilepsy. Many people only have one seizure and never have another. But if a person continues to have seizures for no clear reason, he is considered to have epilepsy.

Many people develop epilepsy during their childhood or adolescence. Others develop it when they are older. For some people with epilepsy (especially children), as time goes by, seizures may come less often or go away completely.

What are seizures?
There are different types of seizures, but they all happen because there is unusual electrical activity in the brain. The brain constantly sends electrical signals that travel through the nerves to the rest of the body. These signals tell your muscles to move so you can do everyday activities.

Seizures can occur when electrical signals in the brain are activated by mistake. These unexpected electrical discharges disrupt normal electrical activity within the brain and cause a temporary communication problem between nerve cells.

What are the signs of seizures?
It can be difficult to tell if a person is having an epileptic seizure. Sometimes the whole body of a person shakes. In other cases, the person simply stares off into space for a few seconds.

A person who is having a seizure may have the following symptoms:

lose consciousness
seem oblivious to what is happening
make involuntary movements (movements that the person cannot control, such as shaking or moving one or more parts of the body)
having unusual feelings or sensations (such as unexplained fear)
Seizures can be scary, but they are not painful and only last a few seconds or minutes. After a seizure, the person may feel tired, weak, or confused for a few minutes, or even for an hour or more. People who have had a seizure may not remember it or may not remember what happened just before the seizure. They may be alert and ready to continue what they were doing before the seizure. This varies from person to person.

What are the different types of seizures?
A person’s type of epilepsy depends on the type of seizure they have. A seizure can be:

generalized, affecting both sides of the brain at the same time
focal, which affects only one side, although it can end up spreading to the other side of the brain (generalized secondary)
In generalized seizures, electrical abnormalities occur throughout the brain at the same time. These include various types of seizures, such as absence seizures, tonic-clonic seizures, and myoclonic epilepsies.

Focal (or partial) seizures begin in one part of the brain. The electrical abnormalities then move to other parts of the brain or remain in one area until the seizure subsides.

Partial seizures can be simple (when a person does not lose consciousness) or complex (when a person loses consciousness). There may be seizures in one or more fingers, a hand or an arm, a leg or a foot. There could be seizures of some facial muscles. During the seizure, the person may slur their words, speak in an unclear, or abnormal way. The person’s vision may be temporarily affected. And the person may feel tingling on one side of the body. It all depends on where in the brain the abnormal electrical activity is occurring.

What are the causes of epilepsy?
Often, there is no clear and obvious reason why someone has epilepsy. But some factors can make a person more likely to develop it; For example:

a lesion or tumor in the brain
problems in brain development before birth
abnormal blood vessels in the brain
hemorrhages in the brain
meningitis, encephalitis, or any other infection that affects the brain
Epilepsy is not contagious, so you can’t catch it from someone who has it. It can run in families, but just because someone’s mom, dad, or sibling has epilepsy doesn’t mean that person will have it too.

There are some things that can sometimes trigger seizures in people who have epilepsy. These include the following:

flashing (or flashing) or string lights
lack of sleep
stress _
overstimulation (such as staring at a computer screen or playing video games for too long)
to have a fever
some medications
hyperventilation (breathing too fast or too deep)
How is epilepsy diagnosed?
Neurologists are doctors who detect and treat problems in the nervous system. If you think you’ve had a seizure, tell your doctor. They will most likely refer you to a neurologist, who will assess whether you have epilepsy or another condition.

The neurologist will examine you and ask you, for example, about your current symptoms, illnesses you had, and the health of your family. These are your medical history. Describe the seizure (or seizures) to the best of your ability. Knowing what type of seizure a person has had is helpful to the doctor in deciding what treatment is.

The neurologist may order studies such as an electroencephalogram to measure the electrical activity of the brain. It could also indicate, for example, a brain CT scan or MRI. All of these tests are painless.

How is epilepsy treated?
Doctors often treat seizures with medication. If medications fail to control seizures, doctors sometimes recommend a special diet, such as a ketogenic diet. This strict diet, high in fat and low in carbohydrates, can make seizures happen less frequently.

For difficult-to-control seizures, doctors may recommend vagus nerve stimulation by implanting a device. This nerve runs to both sides of the neck and reaches the brain. Vagus nerve stimulation sends electrical impulses to the nerve, which conducts these impulses to the brain. This helps prevent seizures or shorten their duration.

Doctors may sometimes resort to surgery when no other treatment can control seizures.

What to do if someone has a seizure?
Here’s what you can do to help someone who is having a seizure:

Keep calm.
Help the person to lie on their side, if possible on a flat and comfortable surface, but do not force them.
Remove glasses or backpack, and loosen any tight clothing around the neck.
Do not try to restrain or immobilize the person.
Keep any object away from the person, especially sharp or hard ones.
Stay with the person or make sure a friend or someone you trust stays with them.
Make sure the person is breathing well.
Do not put anything in the person’s mouth in the middle of a convulsive crisis. There is no danger of her tongue swallowing, and forcing her to keep her mouth open can cause injury.
Talk to the person in a calm way and transmitting security after the seizure is over. If possible, tell her what happened before, during, and after the seizure.
In general, it is not necessary to call 911 if a person with epilepsy is having a seizure. However, you need to call if the person is injured during the seizure, has difficulty breathing, the area around the mouth turns blue, has other health problems such as diabetes, has a seizure that lasts too long ( more than 5 minutes) or if you have several seizures in a row.

What else should I know?
People who have epilepsy can lead normal lives. If you have epilepsy, you can continue to do your usual activities, have a boyfriend or girlfriend, and get a job. Your doctor will tell you in which situations you should take more care of yourself. For example, you can enjoy swimming, but you should swim with other people to avoid taking risks. If you are undergoing treatment for your epilepsy, you can drive.

Tell people close to you—friends, relatives, teachers, coaches—that you have epilepsy and what they should do if you have a seizure when you are with them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment