Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options-Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a nervous system condition. It causes repeated, sudden, brief changes in the brain’s electrical activity. These changes cause various types of symptoms. Epileptic episodes are called seizures or convulsions. During a seizure, brain cells fire uncontrollably at up to four times their normal rate. Seizures temporarily affect the way a person behaves, moves, thinks or feels. There are two main types of seizures: A primary generalized seizure involves the entire brain.

A partial seizure begins in one brain area. It affects only part of the brain. However, a partial seizure can turn into a generalized seizure. Many conditions can affect the brain and trigger epilepsy. These include: Brain injury, either before or after birth Brain tumors Infections, especially meningitis and encephalitis Genetic conditions Abnormal blood vessels in the brain Lead poisoning In most people with epilepsy, the specific cause is unknown. Symptoms The symptoms of epilepsy vary. They depend on how much of the brain is affected, and where the affected area is located.

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Primary generalized seizures: Generalized tonic-clonic seizure (grand mal seizure) — The person loses consciousness. He or she falls to the ground and temporarily stops breathing. All body New Brain Tumor Therapy TomoRx, Robotics, New Technology USA treatment now in Singapore www. DrPre m Pillay. org Know your facts Total sugar in our growing up milk is 15-32% less than other brands. Dutchlady. com . m y/TruthAboutSugar Malaysia Clinics List of Healthcare Clinics, Find Addresses, drugs. com/health-guide/epilepsy. html 1/4 5/11/2011 muscles tense up at once for a short period. This is soon followed by a series of jerking movements.

Some people also lose bowel or bladder control. The seizure episode may last for a few minutes. It is followed by a period of lethargy and confusion. There may be muscle soreness and a headache. Epilepsy Guide: Causes, Symptoms and … Phones, Maps www. 701panduan. com /C linics Losing your hair? What causes hair loss? GET Customised Hair loss treatment www. sve nsonhair. com . m y/ Absence seizure (petit mal seizure) — Loss of consciousness is so brief that the person usually doesn’t change position. For a few seconds, the person may: Have a blank stare Blink rapidly Make chewing movements Move an arm or leg rhythmically.

This type of seizure usually begins in childhood or early adolescence. Partial (focal) seizures: Simple partial seizure —The person remains awake and aware. Symptoms vary depending on the brain area involved. They can include: Jerking movements in one part of the body An experience of abnormal smells, sounds, or changes in vision Nausea Emotional symptoms, such as unexplained fear or rage Complex partial seizure — The person may seem to be aware, but is briefly unresponsive. There may be: A blank stare Chewing or lip-smacking Repetitive movements of the hand Unusual behaviors

After the seizure, the person has no memory of the episode. Status epilepticus —Occurs when a person has a generalized seizure that lasts 20 minutes or more. It can also result from a series of seizures without fully regaining consciousness. This is a life-threatening medical emergency. Diagnosis You may not have any seizure symptoms when you visit your doctor’s office. For this reason, it is important to enlist the help of anyone who has witnessed your seizure. Ask that person to describe exactly what they saw: what happened at the start, what happened next.

Write this description down for your doctor. This description will help your doctor determine the type of seizure you had. It will also help to decide on appropriate treatment. Having a seizure does not mean that a person has epilepsy. For example, it’s common for children to have seizures associated with fever. Most children who have them do not develop epilepsy. Your doctor will diagnose epilepsy based on: drugs. com/health-guide/epilepsy. html 2/4 5/11/2011 Your history A thorough physical examination A thorough neurological examination The results of an electroencephalogram (EEG)

Epilepsy Guide: Causes, Symptoms and … In many cases, your doctor will also order a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the brain. Other types of brain scans also may be needed. Your doctor may want to check whether your seizures are related to causes outside the brain. To do so, he or she may order basic lab tests. These can include blood tests, urinalysis and an electrocardiogram (EKG). Expected Duration Epilepsy can be a lifelong condition. But many people with a history of multiple seizures eventually will stop having seizures.

People who are younger when seizures start are more likely to stop having seizures. The same is true for people who have a normal neurological examination. For most people with epilepsy, seizures can be controlled with medication. Prevention The cause of most cases of epilepsy remains unknown. Therefore, there is no way to prevent seizures. To help prevent epilepsy caused by head injury, you can: Wear seat belts while driving. Equip your car with air bags. Wear an approved helmet while skating, riding a motorcycle or bicycling. Use protective headgear for sports.

Anyone with an active seizure disorder should take precautions. These will minimize the risk of injury if a seizure should occur. For this reason, people with epilepsy are advised not to operate a motor vehicle for at least six months after the most recent seizure. The same applies to operating other dangerous machinery. People with epilepsy should consider wearing some sort of medical identification that describes their condition. This will provide important information to emergency medical personnel. Treatment In most cases, treatment begins with one of the many anti-epileptic medications.

The type of medication used depends on the type of seizure being treated. When medication fails to control a person’s seizures, surgery may be considered. The decision to perform surgery depends on many factors. These include: Frequency and severity of seizures Patient’s risk of brain damage or other injury from frequent seizures Effect on quality of life Patient’s overall health Likelihood that surgery will control seizure episodes Status epilepticus is a life-threatening medical emergency. It is treated with medications given intravenously or rectally. Protective measures are also taken.

These measures keep the person’s airway open. And they help to prevent injury to the person’s head and tongue. When To Call A Professional Call your doctor whenever you or anyone in your family experiences any symptoms of seizure. Call for emergency help immediately if you suspect that someone with epilepsy has developed status epilepticus. Prognosis drugs. com/health-guide/epilepsy. html 3/4 5/11/2011 Epilepsy Guide: Causes, Symptoms and … Most people with epilepsy can control their seizures with medication. Some people have epilepsy that cannot be controlled with anti-epileptic drugs.

Many of these cases can be treated with surgery. Additional Info American Epilepsy Society 342 North Main St. West Hartford, CT 06117-2507 Phone: (860) 586-7505 Fax: (860) 586-7550 www. aesnet. org/ Epilepsy Foundation 4351 Garden City Drive Landover, MD 20785-7223 Toll-Free: (800) 332-1000 www. efa. org/ Disclaimer: This content should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a call or visit to a health professional. Use of this content is subject to specific Terms of Use ; Medical Disclaimers. drugs. com/health-guide/epilepsy. html 4/4