What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy also known as a seizure disorder, is a neurological condition that affects the central nervous system.Epilepsy is often diagnosed after one has suffered at least two seizure episodes not associated with any known medical condition. These seizures usually occur when the electrical activity in your brain is disturbed.
Seizures generally require treatment, here are different types of epilepsy recorded, including:
- Idiopathic Generalised Epilepsy Signs or symptoms generally show during childhood and is usually hereditary or tied to a family tree with a history of epilepsy
- Idiopathic Partial Epilepsy. This mildest type of epilepsy begins in childhood and possibly be outgrown by puberty.
- Symptomatic Partial Epilepsy This type of epilepsy is usually caused by brain damage during birth or brain diseases that are hereditary
- Symptomatic Partial Epilepsy This type of epilepsy appears in adulthood which is usually caused by localised brain abnormality
There's only a small percentage of epilepsy cases that would have a direct cause. Any trauma or injury to the brain are some of the most common causes for epilepsy. This includes brain damage at birth or from accidents during adolescence, brain tumours, brain infections that includes meningitis and encephalitis, scarring of brain tissue, and strokes.
Those suffering from epilepsy are more prone to the disease especially with a strong hereditary history.
There are some factors that may trigger seizures in people in epilepsy. These include not remembering to take seizure medications, heavy alcohol consumption, drug abuse that includes substances such as cocaine and ecstasy, sleep deprivation (insomnia) and use of drugs that would interfere with seizure medications.
Seizures are often warning signs of epilepsy, two main types of seizures are:
- Focal seizure where symptoms include:
- Impairment to visual, sensory, and motor abilities
- Sudden loss of consciousness
- Generalised seizures where symptoms include:
- Trouble breathing and incontinence
- Involuntary twitching of arms and legs (1 to 2 minutes)
- Sudden loss of consciousness (30 seconds to 5 minutes)
- Tongue biting
Anti-epileptic medication is used as a first-line medical treatment. Preventive treatment includes:
- Keep stress at bay
- Sufficient hours of sleep (insomnia)
- Take medication as prescribed
- If the prescribed medication show no improvement or is not effective in controlling seizures, surgical treatment might be recommended and to undergo brain surgery
Possible side effects to the prescribed medications used to manage or treat epilepsy might include:
- Vision impairment
- Hair Loss
- Mobility impairment, shaky hands
- Sleepiness, nausea and fatigue
- Sudden weight gain