What Is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a disorder of the central nervous system. It has been tagged as the fourth most common neurological disorder. It is characterized by uncontrolled, recurrent seizures getting hold of the affected person. The seizures may erupt at just about any time – their timing cannot be predicted – and they are of different types. Epilepsy can bring in its wake other health problems.
It varies from being benign to life-threatening, depending on the extent of the seizures. As a result of the disrupted brain activity, one experiences weird sensations, leading to convulsions, muscle spasms and loss of consciousness.
What is a seizure?
It occurs as a result of a break in electrical activity in the brain. It happens at the level of the brain, affecting other body parts in the same go. Since they can happen at any time, epilepsy greatly decreases the quality of life of a person.
Certain factors may act as triggers of the seizures. Hence, keeping the record of the potential triggers may help one evaluate one’s situation using them as indicators in case other seizures are to come. For instance, some people experience seizures only during their sleep, while it is the opposite for others. Some others may notice that they have seizures when they are particularly stressed and worried.
Keeping track of the conditions one is in prior to being overtaken by the seizures may help one know whether something is a trigger or not. This may allow a person to prepare himself in certain situations.
The stimuluses causing the epileptic seizures vary greatly:
- Specific time of night or day
- Sleep deprivation
- Fever and other illnesses
- Alcohol or drug use
- Certain food items
Types of Epileptic Seizures
Seizures have been broadly categorized into two groups:
- Primary generalised seizures
- Partial seizures
They are distinguished from each other as to how and where they occur.
The primary generalized one starts off with a widespread electrical discharge. Both sides of the brain are involved simultaneously. This is generally associated with heredity. Partial seizures involve a restricted spot of the brain only. This may result from brain injury, stroke, tumour and so on.
Diagnosis of Epilepsy
The brain and nervous system have to be examined. Blood tests are also done. An electroencephalogram is generated which displays the electrical activity in the brain. Certain specific forms of seizures have characteristic patterns of activity which show on the electroencephalogram.
Treatment for Epilepsy
Particular medication is available to treat epilepsy. Sometimes, surgery may prove to be effective as well. Specialized care is also available to help people deal with the seizures.
Some children suffering form the disorder have to take special diets because the medications available do not produce the desired effects. Also, 50% of the children affected by epileptic seizures during their childhood grow to be healthy adults without the disorder affecting their lives.
For now, epilepsy remains without a perfect cure having been discovered. Therefore, people make do with the medication accessible to them, and they may also follow special diets and devices to deal with the disorder.