Epilepsy

 

Woman folded over on couch | Healthier Me TodayEpilepsy is considered a neurological condition where an individual has recurring seizures. Seizures are abnormal brain activity leading to compulsions, memory lapses, and involuntary muscle movements.

This condition affects all ages and genders equally. Seizures can occur as a symptom of another condition or as Epilepsy separates from other health problems.

Causes

Epilepsy is a condition that many people still do not understand. There is a lot of research currently being conducted to understand how Epilepsy develops.

There are various types, and each one has its cause and symptoms. However, the most common causes are:

  • Genetics.
  • Misfiring neurons results from developmental problems.
  • Trauma to the head or brain.

Focal seizures

Focal seizures are common in all age groups and occur because of abnormal brain activity. During these seizures, people can either be conscious or unconscious. Most of the time, a part of a person’s brain is damaged, which results in frequent seizures.

Generalized seizures

These typically affect all areas of the brain, not just one focal point. Therefore, it is harder to find the cause because it is throughout the brain. However, the most common types of generalized seizures are absence seizures, atonic seizures, and tonic-clonic seizures.

Absence seizures

During Absence seizures, children are mainly targeted. However, they outgrow it with age. Children, who stare off into space are ‘absent,’ blink frequently and have a brief moment of confusion. This type of seizure occurs throughout the day and without warning, and the symptoms are quiet, and it often goes undetected for some time.

Atonic seizures

Patients with Atonic seizures often feel a loss of muscle control. This type of seizure is seen frequently. People may drop to the ground as they lose feeling in their bodies and the strength to hold themselves up. Typically, they gain muscle control soon after it is over.

Tonic-clonic seizures

Tonic-clonic seizures are the most extreme type of seizure. People lose muscle control and consciousness during this seizure and thrash their bodies unconsciously. The person with these seizures typically gets no warning until the seizure is done.

Symptoms

It is hard to pinpoint a few symptoms of Epilepsy since there are various types, and they are unique. However, for a person to have Epilepsy, they must have multiple seizures over a long period. One seizure is not enough to be labeled with Epilepsy.

The most common symptoms of Epilepsy and seizures are:

  • Uncontrollable urine
  • Spacing out
  • Thrashing
  • Involuntary muscle twists
  • Unconsciousness

Complications

Sadly, many complications can occur when someone is having a seizure. Since they are unpredictable, they can happen at any given moment. This means you can drop down to the ground while in a pool, driving, or walking.

The following listed below are complications that can arise because of Epilepsy:

  • Miscarriages
  • Drowning
  • Driving
  • Walking
  • Trauma to the head
  • Safety

Diagnosis

You cannot diagnose yourself with Epilepsy. Although you may have a seizure, it does not mean they are chronic or frequent. However, no matter the exact type of seizure, you should go and see your doctor with any concerns. It can be dangerous and create complications in your future.

In most states, the moment you have a seizure, you cannot drive any longer because of the possibility of having an accident. Your doctor will need to examine your brain’s activity to understand the type of Epilepsy you have.

Electroencephalogram (EEG).

Doctors may suggest an EEG attach electrodes to your head and chest. These electrodes record electrical activity in your brain and scan clear images.

It is the most accurate and common imaging exam for seizures. Since most of the time, seizures come without warning, your doctor may have to induce one forcefully. They can do this by flashing lights or using your trigger. If they are unsuccessful, it is possible to take a portage EEG. You need to wear the portable EEG everywhere you go for a minimum of 30 days to analyze the results.

Blood tests can also rule out underlying conditions like parasites and bacteria. Surprisingly, you can have seizures from having a high fever and a bacterial infection. To diagnose and treat tumors, you may need an MRI exam to look for your brain or spinal cord masses. A tumor or mass in your brain can cause the neurons to misfire.

Treatment

The majority of treatments for Epilepsy are medications. They can either be gel capsules or hard pills. There are no clinically proven at-home treatments. Instead, you need to take one of over 20 types of anti-seizure medication. It takes approximately two years of consistent use for the medications to work.

After two years, your doctor can decide to wean you off on the dosage. This way, the seizures disappear, and you don’t have to medicate your whole life. However, keep in mind that the seizures can come back.

There are also significant side effects to taking anti-seizure medications, which include:

  • Exhaustion
  • Pain in stomach
  • Nausea
  • Skin rashes
  • Dizziness

If the cause is a tumor or mass on your brain, you can have surgery to remove the mass affecting your seizures—Epilepsy surgery. The surgery is invasive and comes with risks. It is dangerous as small changes to the brain can affect all parts of your body.

How to listen to your body?

Overall, Epilepsy is a neurological condition that is serious. Although it is rarely fatal, you can hurt yourself when having a seizure. There are ways, however, to diagnose and treat Epilepsy. It is important to first understand exactly which type of seizures you are having. They all have very different symptoms and signs.

This is also why they require different treatments. Some people need surgery to remove small parts of their brain affecting the seizures, while others require medication. Thankfully, you can still live a long, happy, and healthy life with Epilepsy as long as you take precautions and treatments. The main worry surrounding Epilepsy is that they are uncontrollable and come without warning.


FAQ

  1. Can I live a normal life with epilepsy? Yes, you can. With medical professional treatment and mindfulness of your condition, it is possible to live a happy and healthy lifestyle.
  2. Can my epilepsy go away, naturally? Yes, it can, but it’s not likely. If you were diagnosed with epilepsy, the chances of your seizures disappearing as you age is higher than if you were diagnosed at a later stage of life.

Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!

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