The Essential Overview Of Epilepsy

February 28, 2023

Epilepsy is a medical condition that affects the central nervous system, wherein the patients suffer from recurrent seizures. The cause of epilepsy is known to be the result of abnormal electrical activity within the brain leading to seizures.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, it is the fourth most common neurological disease that affects all ages. There are approximately 3.4 million patients diagnosed with epilepsy in the United States alone, with one in twenty-six Americans developing it at some point in their lives.

Signs And Symptoms Of Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder resulting from abnormal brain activity that can cause bouts of seizures, unusual behavior, and sometimes loss of awareness. The seizure symptoms and severity varies on a case to case basis. However, some of the common signs and symptoms of seizures include temporary confusion, loss of consciousness or awareness, fear, anxiety, deja vu, and uncontrollable movements.

Although the symptoms and severity may differ from patient to patient, they tend to have the same or similar types of seizures. Continue reading to learn about the different types of seizures epilepsy can cause.

The Different Types Of Seizures

Epilepsy may cause three different kinds of seizures: generalized, partial or focal, and absence or petit mal. A generalized seizure affects all areas of the brain. A patient with generalized seizures will stiffen for a few moments and then have rhythmic movements of their limbs; their eyes may remain open, they may be confused, lose urine, and may appear as if they are not breathing while they experience the seizure.

Partial or focal seizures affect just one part of the brain, which therefore means they only affect part of the body. Finally, absence or petit mal seizures are common in childhood and tend to last just a few seconds. Absence seizures cause consciousness impairment, and repetitive blinking or small movements.

Now that you know the different kinds of seizures, keep reading to discover what the causes and risk factors are for epilepsy.

Causes Of Epilepsy And Risk Factors

The causes of epilepsy remain elusive. However, many common identifiable causes include genetics and heredity, head trauma, strokes, tumors, prenatal injury, developmental disorders, and infectious diseases like AIDS and meningitis.

Many factors may contribute to or increase the risk of epilepsy, such as family history and heredity. Age is also a factor, as epilepsy is most common in children and older adults. Other risk factors include head trauma or injuries, stroke and vascular diseases, dementia, infections, and seizures during childhood.

Epilepsy may be hereditary or may be developed over time, but how is it diagnosed? Keep reading to find out.

Diagnosing Epilepsy

To diagnose epilepsy, the doctor will review symptoms, medical history, and may order tests to diagnose epilepsy properly and to better their understanding of the causes of seizures. Some diagnostic tests include neurological exams and neuropsychological tests to test memory, speech, behavior, motor skills, and mental function. Other tests doctors will often use to diagnose this condition include blood tests, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT) scan, electroencephalogram (EEG), and high-density EEG.

By making an accurate diagnosis of the types of seizures and their cause will give doctors the best chance for determining the most effective methods of treatment and prevention. Keep reading to learn all about the different treatment methods.

Epilepsy Treatment And Coping

Treatment for epilepsy begins with prescription medications to ease the intensity and decrease the frequency of seizures known as for as anti-seizure or anti-epileptic medications. Side effects of anti-epileptic medications may include fatigue, dizziness, weight gain, rashes, loss of bone density, depression, and inflammation. Approximately fifty percent of patients diagnosed with epilepsy will no longer suffer from seizures upon their first medication. However, if there is no progress, the doctor may suggest surgery or other therapies, such as the ketogenic diet.

To help cope with epilepsy, patients should take their medication as prescribed, get adequate sleep, regular exercise, and should wear a medical alert bracelet.

Continue reading to find out what may trigger epileptic seizures.

Epileptic Seizure Triggers

Many triggers can cause a seizure as a response or reflex. Patterns or certain situations may cause seizures, but other times it can be a fluke. Learning what triggers epileptic seizures is one of the best methods to preventing future seizures alongside taking prescribed anti-epileptic medications.

Some common triggers happen to be specific times of the day, not getting an adequate amount of sleep, while fevered or ill, flashing bright lights, drug and alcohol use, stress, low blood sugar, an unbalanced diet, and hormonal changes. A good way of keeping track of epileptic triggers is to keep a seizure diary, noting the date, time, and possible triggers.

Knowing what triggers seizures can help prepare and may decrease the number of epileptic seizures caused by triggers, and remember to keep a seizure diary to keep track.

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