What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a non-communicable neurological disorder, characterized by recurring seizures, during which brain activity turns abnormal. This can lead to noticeably weird behavior and even loss of consciousness and awareness. People can be born with the condition or can develop it later in life, by way of brain injuries, severe concussions, and strokes. Epilepsy can occur in any individual, regardless of race, sex, and age.
Seizures & Epilepsy
So far, there seems to be no concrete evidence as to what causes a seizure, but medical professionals agree that various factors can cause a seizure. These include:
- Sleep Deprivation
- Missing medication
- Taking too much stress
- In women, menstruation can trigger a seizure
- Common cold
- Flashing/Strobing lights
- Nutritional deficiencies
Types of Seizures
Seizures themselves can be of 2 distinct types, involving one or two parts of the brain (Focal) or involving most parts (Generic).
1. Focal Seizures
Focal seizures can occur without loss of consciousness, which usually manifests as altered emotions or sensations such as taste, touch, smell, and sound. There may be some involuntary jerking of one part of the body, usually one of the limbs, and some people may experience deja vu.
If, however, one loses consciousness during a focal seizure, it can feel like a dream-like state, where you may end up staring into space, not responding to the environment around you or become unable to perform repetitive movements.
Generic seizures affect all parts of the brain and are of 6 major kinds:
- Absence seizures,
- Tonic seizures,
- Atonic seizures,
- Clonic seizures,
- Myoclonic seizures,
- Tonic-clonic seizures.
Complications and when to see a doctor
Complications with epilepsy occur because you become more prone to having a seizure during dangerous circumstances or situations. You can fall and injure yourself badly if you lose consciousness, driving and operating heavy machinery may be tough. In fact, some places require you to be on medication and have a significant gap between your last seizure, in order for you to be legally eligible to drive.
If any of the below symptoms occur, seek medical help immediately:
- The seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes
- You have fever
- You’re diabetic
- You’re pregnant
- Breathing/consciousness doesn’t return after the seizure stops
- You’ve injured yourself during the seizure
- A second seizure occurs almost instantly
- Seizures continue to happen despite taking anti-seizure medication
Treatment for Epilepsy
Treatment can help with decreasing the frequency of seizures as well as completely stopping them. Some treatment options listed below:
- anti-epileptic medications (AEDs) brain surgery to remove a tiny portion of the brain that is causing the seizures
- an operation to implant a tiny electrical device within the body to regulate seizures
- a unique eating plan (the ketogenic diet) that helps reduce seizures
Some patients require ongoing care. But if your seizures stop over time, you might be able to discontinue. If you are aware of your seizure triggers and can prevent them, you might not require any therapy. Discuss the various therapies with your specialist, including which ones would be most effective for you.
AEDs or Anti-epileptic
The most popular form of epilepsy therapy is AED usage. About seven out of ten persons who have seizures can be helped by them.
AEDs function by altering the chemical composition of your brain. They can prevent seizures from occurring but do not treat epilepsy.
Typical kinds of AEDs are:
- Lamotrigine, levetiracetam,
- Sodium valproate,
The ideal kind for you will depend on factors including your age, the type of seizures you experience, and if you plan to have children.
Epilepsy, though a scary condition, can be managed well through medications and talk therapy as well. In most cases, daily medication works out well. In cases where just medication doesn’t work, alternative supporting treatments can be investigated such as neurosurgery, implanting a neurotransmitter, or even a special diet. It must also be remembered to support epileptic people’s right to self-manage their condition.
Vasavi Hospital‘s well-equipped neurology department offers world-class treatment including Vagus Nerve Stimulation. Visit https://vasavihospitals.com to know more.