Epilepsy is a neurological disorder of the central nervous system where the activity of the brain becomes abnormal causing seizures and sometimes loses conscious.
An epileptic seizure is defined as, abnormal electrical activity in the brain. It is a neurological state that feels like a shock wave travelling in brain and epilepsy is the repetition of recurrent unprovoked seizures.
Well, most of us know that epilepsy causes uncontrollable jerking and the person might become unconscious suddenly. However, it’s not the only thing that happens but there’s much more. In fact, there are several types of epileptic seizures. So, let’s have a crisp start understanding the causes of epilepsy.
Causes Of Epilepsy
Our brain transfer and receive information every second of the day with the cells of all body parts to carry out every function. Many people may not know that electrical activity is present in our brain but very mild.
Epilepsy occurs if there is any disturbance in the functioning of our brain. This how seizures occur and there could be several reasons for this to happen. Let’s have a quick glance at some common causes.
- Genetic History: People with specific genes are extra sensitive to some environmental factors which can trigger epileptic seizures.
- Brain Injuries Or Medical Conditions: Any medical condition which causes even slight brain damage may result in the development of epilepsy to a person. These conditions involve:
- Brain tumours
- Brain strokes
- Neurological Defects
- Lack of Oxygen To Brain
- Viral encephalitis
- Chemical imbalances in the brain
- Traumatic Head Injuries
- Developmental disorders: Epilepsy may be associated with people having disorders like autism or other similar conditions.
- Infectious diseases: Infectious diseases that affect the functioning of the brain like AIDS, HIV, bacterial meningitis, etc. can also cause epilepsy.
- Prenatal injury: Prenatal injuries are related to the factors affecting the growth and development of a baby inside the womb. i.e, if the mother gets an infectious disease or poor nutrition or improper oxygen supply can cause brain damage and results in epilepsy.
Well, the factors are the most common causes of epilepsy but there’s a lot to understand about epilepsy. The conditions weaken a person physically as well as emotionally over time. There are many types of seizures which can occur in different ways and shows unusual effects on people.
Symptoms Of Epilepsy
When we talk about epilepsy the first thing that strikes us is the person with epilepsy have convulsive jerking. Of course, every person with epilepsy may not have convulsions. Repetitive shaking, fumbling while talking, staring, chewing, etc. are the signs of seizure attacks. Some other symptoms and signs include:
- Psychic symptoms like fear, anxiety or deja vu
- Panic Attacks
- Change in senses
- Shivering of hands and legs
- Stiffness of Body
Usually, symptoms of epilepsy vary according to the type of seizure attacked. In most of the cases, a person who has epilepsy tend to have the same type of seizure each time. The symptoms also look similar from episode to episode.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF EPILEPSY
Treatment For Epilepsy
If you are diagnosed with epilepsy, no need to worry. There are several ways to get treatment. Generally, any doctor would suggest medication to treat epilepsy in the initial stages. If medication doesn’t they proceed with further treatments such as implant that works on your nerves or brain or surgery or another type of treatment.
Medication works for nearly 7 out of 10 people having epilepsy. Most people with epilepsy use anti-seizure medication or anticonvulsant medications to free from seizures. It is also known as anti-epileptic medication. The intensity of seizures also decreased by taking a combination of medications.
The function of drugs on the epileptic person varies from one person to another. So doctors suggest medication depending on the type of seizures you have, your age, your sex, some other medical conditions you have etc.
You can discontinue medications if you are not having any seizures after a certain period of time.
Anti-seizure drugs might have some mild side effects which you need to discuss with your doctor before taking a course of medicines. The side effects include:
- Weight gain
- Loss of bone density
- Skin rashes
- Loss of coordination
- Speech problems
- Memory and thinking problems
When medications fail to provide relief from seizures, Epilepsy surgery may be the next option. The surgery involves removing the area of your brain causing seizures.
There are two types of surgeries.
- Resective surgery
- Disconnective surgery
In disconnective surgery, instead of removing the affected area, the surgeon will disconnect the paths of the nerves in the brain involved in seizure attacks.
Nerve Stimulation Therapies
Apart from medications and surgical options, there are some potential therapies and diet that offer an alternative treatment for epilepsy. Stimulation therapies include:
- Vagus nerve stimulation
- Responsive neurostimulation
- Deep brain stimulation
This diet is low carbohydrate and rich fat diet. Doctor suggests this diet based on the type of seizures. Usually, this diet is provided to children when medication doesn’t help in seizures. Some studies show that the diet also works for adults with epilepsy.
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