What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a neurological condition that causes frequent, unprovoked seizures. A seizure is a sudden rush of the brain’s electrical activity.
Two major types of seizures occur. Generalized seizures affect the brain as a whole. Focal seizures and partial seizures affect only one part of the brain.
It may be hard to recognize a moderate seizure. It may last a couple of seconds in which you lose understanding.
Stronger seizures may cause spasms or uncontrollable twitches of the body and can last up to several minutes for a few seconds. Many people get confused and lose consciousness during a stronger seizure. You may not have any recollection of it afterward.
You may have a seizure for several reasons. These include:
- high fever
- head trauma
- very low blood sugar
- alcohol withdrawal
Epilepsy is a relatively common neurological disorder affecting 65 million people worldwide. It affects around 3 million people in the United States.
Everyone may develop epilepsy, but in young children and older adults, it is more common. This takes place far more in men than in women.
There is no cure for epilepsy, but medications and other methods can be used to treat the condition.
There is no loss of consciousness in a clear partial seizure. Symptoms are as follows:
- alterations to a sense of taste, smell, sight, hearing, or touch
- tingling and twitching of limbs
Complex partial seizures cause loss of consciousness and memory. Other signs include the following:
- staring blankly
- performing repetitive movements
Generalized seizures The entire brain is involved in generalized seizures. Six types exist:
A blank stare induces the absence of seizures, which used to be called “petit mal seizures.” This type of seizure may also result in repetitive movements such as smacking of lips or blinking. Typically there is also a brief loss of consciousness.
Tonic seizures cause stiffness of the muscle.
Atonic seizures lead to muscle function loss and may cause you to suddenly fall down.
Repeated, jerky muscle movements of the head, chest, and arms are characterized by clonic seizures.
Myoclonic seizures cause the arms and legs to twitch rapidly spontaneously.
Tonic-clonic seizures used to be referred to as “great seizures.”
- stiffening of the body
- loss of bladder or bowel control
- biting of the tongue
- loss of consciousness
You may not remember having one after a seizure, or you may feel slightly ill for a couple of hours.
What is the cause of an epileptic seizure?
Some people can identify things that can trigger seizures or situations.
Some of the triggers most commonly reported are:
- lack of sleep
- illness or fever
- bright lights, flashing lights, or patterns
- caffeine, alcohol, medicines, or drugs
- skipping meals, overeating, or specific food ingredients
It’s not always easy to identify causes. There is not always a single incident that means something is a cause. It is often a combination of factors causing a seizure.
Holding a seizure log is a good way to find the causes. Note the following after every seizure:
- day and time
- what activity you were involved in
- what was happening around you
- unusual sights, smells, or sounds
- unusual stressors
- what you were eating or how long it had been since you’d eaten
- your level of fatigue and how well you slept the night before
You can also use your seizure log to determine how your medications function. Remember how you feel and any side effects just before and just after your seizure.
Take the journal with you on your doctor’s visit. It may be helpful to modify the medicine or to pursue other treatments.
Is it hereditary with epilepsy?
Epilepsy can involve as many as 500 genes. Genetics can also have a fixed “seizure threshold.” You are more vulnerable to seizure triggers if you inherit a high seizure threshold. A higher threshold means that you have less risk of seizures.
Epilepsy happens in families at times. Today, there is a relatively low risk of inheriting the disease. Many epileptic parents don’t have epileptic kids.
The risk of developing epilepsy by age 20 is usually around 1%, or 1 in 100 people If you have an epileptic parent because of a genetic cause, the risk will rise to between 2 and 5 percent somewhere.
If your parent has epilepsy due to another cause, such as stroke or brain injury, your chances of developing epilepsy will not be affected.
Some rare conditions can cause seizures, such as tuberous sclerosis and neurofibromatosis. These are issues that can take place in families.
Epilepsy does not affect children’s ability Nevertheless, certain drugs for epilepsy can affect your unborn baby. Do not stop taking your medicine, just talk to your doctor before you become pregnant or when you hear that you are pregnant.
Try scheduling a consultation with a genetic counselor if you have epilepsy and are worried about starting a family.
What causes epilepsy?
The origin can not be determined in 6 out of 10 people with epilepsy. Seizures can result in a variety of things. Possible causes are:
- traumatic brain injury
- scarring on the brain after a brain injury (post-traumatic epilepsy)
- stroke, which is a leading cause of epilepsy in people over age 35
- lack of oxygen to the brain
- other vascular diseases
- serious illness or very high fever
- brain tumor or cyst
- maternal drug use, prenatal injury, brain malformation, or lack of oxygen at birth
- dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
- infectious diseases such as AIDS and meningitis
- genetic or developmental disorders or neurological diseases
In some types of epilepsy, heredity plays a role. There is a 1 percent chance of developing epilepsy before the age of 20 in the general population. If you have a parent with genetic-related epilepsy, the risk will rise to 2 to 5 percent.
Genetics can also make many people more vulnerable to environmental causes seizures.
At any age, epilepsy may develop. Diagnosis usually occurs at or after the age of 60 years of age.
How is epilepsy diagnosed?
If you suspect you have had a seizure, see your doctor at the earliest opportunity. A seizure may be a symptom of a serious medical problem.
Your experience and symptoms of treatment will help your physician determine which tests are useful. You are likely to have a neurological exam to assess your motor skills and mental function.
Any disorders that induce seizures should be omitted in order to treat epilepsy. The doctor is likely to order a complete blood count and blood chemistry.
Blood tests may be used to look for:
- signs of infectious diseases
- liver and kidney function
- blood glucose levels
The most common test used in the treatment of epilepsy is an electroencephalogram (EEG). First, you add electrodes with a paste to your scalp. It’s a painless, non-invasive test. You may be asked to perform a particular task. In some cases, during sleep, the experiment is performed. The electrodes monitor the brain’s electrical activity.
Imaging tests can identify tumors and other seizure-causing abnormalities. Such assessments could include:
- CT scan
- positron emission tomography (PET)
- single-photon emission computerized tomography
Epilepsy is usually diagnosed when, for no apparent or reversible cause, you have seizures.
How is the treatment of epilepsy?
Epilepsy can be treated by most people. Your treatment plan will be focused on symptom severity, fitness, and how well you are responding to therapy.
Some options for treatment include:
Medications that are anti-epileptic (anticonvulsant, antiseizure): these medications can reduce the number of seizures you have. For certain individuals, delusions are removed. The drug must be taken exactly as prescribed in order to be effective. Stimulator for the nerve vagus:
Ketogenic diet: This high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet helps more than half of people who do not respond to medication.
Brain surgery: It is possible to remove or change the brain area which triggers seizure activity.
There is ongoing research into new treatments. Deep brain stimulation is one therapy that may be available in the future. It’s a procedure that implants electrodes into your brain. Then you implant a generator in your chest To order to help minimize hallucinations, the generator sends electrical impulses to the brain.
Another testing method includes a machine like a pacemaker. It would monitor brain activity patterns and send an electrical load or drug to stop a seizure.
Also under review are minimally invasive surgeries and radiosurgery.
Another testing method includes a machine like a pacemaker. It would monitor brain activity patterns and send an electrical load or drug to stop a seizure. Also under review are minimally invasive surgeries and radiosurgery.
The medication is consumed through the intestine. So it’s going to the heart through the bloodstream. In a way that reduces the electrical activity that contributes to seizures, it affects neurotransmitters. Medicines for anti-seizure pass through the digestive tract and leave the body in the urine.
There are many drugs on the market for antiseizure. Depending on the type of seizures you have, your doctor may prescribe a single drug or combination of drugs.
Common drugs for epilepsy include:
- levetiracetam (Keppra)
- lamotrigine (Lamictal)
- topiramate (Topamax)
- valproic acid (Depakote)
- carbamazepine (Tegretol)
- ethosuximide (Zarontin)
Generally, these drugs are available in tablet, liquid, and injectable forms and are taken once or twice a day. Begin with the lowest dose possible that can be changed until it begins to work. This is important to take these medicines routinely and as prescribed. Pregabid (pregabalin) Capsule is an anti-epileptic medicine used for the treatment of certain types of seizures. It is also used to relieve pain associated with nerve damage caused by conditions such as diabetes, certain viral diseases, and fibromyalgia.
Some potential side effects may include:
- skin rash
- poor coordination
- memory problems
Depression or inflammation of the liver or other organs is rare but serious side effects. Epilepsy is different for everyone, but with anti-seizure medicine, many people are improving. Many kids with epilepsy avoid seizures and may stop taking medicine.
Is surgery an epileptic treatment option?
If the number of seizures can not be decreased by medication, surgery is another option
resection is the most common procedure. It involves removing the part of the brain that triggers the seizures. Most often, in a procedure known as temporal lobectomy, the temporal lobe is detached. In some cases, seizure activity may be prevented.
During this surgery, you will be kept awake in some cases. This helps doctors to speak to you and prevent removing part of the brain that regulates important functions like sight, hearing, voice, and movement.
There is another procedure called multiple subpial transection, or disconnection if the brain area is too large or necessary to remove. To block the nerve flow, the surgeon makes cuts in the brain. It stops hallucinations from moving to other brain areas.
Some people can cut down on or even stop taking antiseizure drugs after surgery.
Any procedure, including a bad reaction to anesthesia, bleeding or infection, is at risk. Sometimes brain surgery can lead to cognitive changes. Speak to your surgeon about the pros and cons of the various procedures and get a second opinion before making a final decision.
Is there a cure for epilepsy?
There is no cure for epilepsy, but it can make a big difference in early treatment.
Uncontrolled or repeated seizures can result in damage to the brain. The risk of sudden unexplained death also rises with epilepsy.
It is possible to manage the disorder effectively. Medication will usually control seizures.
There are two types of brain surgery that can reduce or eliminate seizures. One type, called resection, involves removing the part of the brain that causes seizures.
The surgeon can disconnect if the area of the brain responsible for seizures is too vital or too big to remove. It means that the nerve pathway is disrupted by making cuts in the brain. It prevents the transfer of seizures to other parts of the brain.
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