Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Causes, symptoms and treatments for epilepsy

This article gives a great general overview of the causes, symptoms and treatment options for epilepsy.

Epilepsy is usually identified only after the occurrence of more than one seizure in a person and the chances of Epileptic seizures increases with age and leads to abnormal, excessive or hypersynchronous neuronal activity in the brain. Moreover, the condition is also very common among the infants. Presently over 50 million people are victim of Epilepsy globally of which about 80 percent cases are observed in the developing countries. So, in order to avoid Epileptic condition it is very important to know about thecauses, symptoms, treatment and prevention of Epilepsy. Moreover you should also know about the types of seizure as well as diagnosis of Epilepsy.

Types of Seizure
Depending upon the source of seizure, they are primarily classified into two types of which first is called partial or focal onset seizures in which the seizure within the brain is localized. However, in the second type of seizure called generalized seizures, the seizure within the brain is distributed.
Partial seizures depending upon the extent to which alertness is affected is further divided into two types called the simple partial seizure in which the awareness is unaffected, while the second type is called complex partial (psychomotor) seizure.
Generalized seizures are further divided as per the effect on the body but over all involve loss of consciousness and alertness. The types of generalized seizures include absence (petit mal), myoclonic, clonic, tonic, tonic-clonic (grand mal), and atonic seizures.
Causes of Epilepsy
Though, in most of the cases the reason behind Epileptic seizures are not known but the major cause of Epilepsy is injury to the brain due to some reasons. The major causes of Epilepsy can be characterized by:
  • Inadequate oxygen during birth.
  • Any head injury at the time of birth or as a result of some accident during the adulthood.
  • Recovering patients as a consequence of brain surgery.
  • Due to brain tumors.
  • Central nervous system (CNS) infections and trauma.
  • Some of the genetic factors can also result in epileptic condition such as tuberous sclerosis.
  • People suffering from meningitis or encephalitis have increased chances of Epilepsy.
  • Sudden stroke or brain injury.
  • Abnormal levels of substances such as sodium or blood sugar.
However, the major causes for Epileptic condition are mentioned above but these are not restricted to these only. There are some factors, which may also provoke Epileptic seizures. These are:
  • Not taking medicines properly.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol.
  • Consumption of drugs like cocaine and others.
  • Emotional stress, sleep deprivation
  • Taking drugs that interfere with seizure medications.
Symptoms of Epilepsy
Symptoms of Epilepsy are seizure and may vary from person to person. While, some people show simple seizure attacks, some are diagnosed by violent seizures leading to loss of alertness. The symptoms of epilepsy depend upon the part of brain affected causing epilepsy. Some of the common symptoms of Epilepsy are:
  • Feeling strange and restless.
  • Sudden jerk in the arms.
  • Twitching and trembling.
  • Sudden unconsciousness. You may fall to the ground due to black out.
  • Sometimes you may feel stiffness in your muscles or limp.
  • You also may get a warning sign, like strange smell before the seizure provokes. These are called auras.
  • Lack of sleep is also a common symptom.
Diagnosis of Epilepsy
Diagnosis of Epilepsy is a tedious task as it requires access to various facts and figures about the patients and the cause of seizures due to lack of an absolute diagnostic tool or test. However, it you have suffered two or more seizures, you may be diagnosed with epilepsy. The diagnosis of Epilepsy is based on many factors.
In order to diagnose Epilepsy, it is very essential to know patient's medical history, which also includes if there is any case of family history of seizures, associated medical conditions, and current medications if any.
Some of the common questions asked to the patient in order to diagnose Epilepsy are:
  • At what age did you get the first seizures?
  • For how long did you felt the seizure and what was the feeling?
  • What do you think should be the reason for the seizure?
  • What do you feel before, during, and after the seizures?
  • Have you undergone for any treatment for epilepsy before?
  • What are the medications prescribed to you and in what dosages?
  • Was the treatment effective?
  • Are you suffering from any illnesses, diseases, injuries or other medical condition?
  • Do you have any family history of Epilepsy?
After analyzing and evaluating all your answers to the questions asked by the doctor, the doctor might provide the answer whether you are getting the seizure due to epilepsy or not.
Treatment of Epilepsy
Though, there is not any absolute treatment for Epilepsy yet, but there are certain methods usually used to reduce the severity of Epilepsy from being increasing.
  • Ketogenic diet is one of the common practices deployed for the treatment of Epilepsy and has also shown some success in reducing the rate of seizure to certain extent especially among the children.
  • Nerve stimulation through Vagus nerve stimulation method is another option. This treatment is mostly for people who cannot have surgery.
  • In some cases where medication does not show proper result, surgery proves to be quite effective.
Prevention of Epilepsy
As such the exact reason of Epilepsy is still unknown. There is no stiff treatment for the disease but by keeping certain common things in mind, you can certainly prevent Epilepsy from being occurring. Some of the preventive measures of Epilepsy are:
  • Try to prevent any type of head injuries by wearing seat belts and helmets while driving.
  • Immediately rush to a doctor after suffering from the first seizure for medical help.
  • Start taking proper medication on doctor's advice after the first or second seizure.
  • Avoid the consumption of alcohol.
  • Avoid the intake of tobacco products and harmful drugs
  • If you are suffering from high blood pressure or any other infection, take proper treatment for that.
  • Proper diet enriched with vitamins and minerals is recommended.
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