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Diseases & Conditions

Epilepsy

EpilepsyCausesMedicationsPrecautionsRisk FactorsSymptomsTreatmentTypes

What is Epilepsy?

Out of all the disorders of the brain, epilepsy belongs to a class of disorders which directly affects the motor skills of the body temporarily. It occurs due to abnormal signaling of the neurons in the brain. Since neurons and nerve cell clusters are responsible for every action of the human body, their dysfunction can lead to disturbed physical behavior and convulsions or spasms, resulting in loss of consciousness.

Causes of Epilepsy

The causes of epilepsy are as diverse as the cases of the disorder itself. Typically, any disturbance in the normal activity of the neurons can result in epilepsies. It could be a minor illness or abnormal brain development in children. In most cases, it is due to strokes, tumors, cysts and hemorrhages in the brain. A broader sense of causes can be found below:

  • Changes in the chemistry of the brain
  • Hereditary reasons – genetics
  • General Physical and Mental disorders
  • Head injuries due to accidents
  • Prenatal injuries
  • Environmental causes

Medication for Epilepsy

The commonly prescribed medicines for this disorder include carbamazepine , valproate , lamotrigine , oxcarbazepine, and phenytoin. These are prescribed initially because they are of a minor dose and general to all forms of epilepsy. After the proper form of the disorder is diagnosed and established, it is essential to prescribe a more specific kind of medication and treatment. More common drugs include Clonazepam, Phenobarbital and Primidone. New medicines are always being created for the purpose of curing epilepsy. Some new drugs include tiagabine, topiramate, levetiracetam, gabapentin and felbamate.

Precautions of Epilepsy

A general awareness of public and road safety needs to be present with every individual to avoid injuries to the head. This can be carried out by making seatbelts and bike helmets mandatory in every city. It is also essential to monitor the activities of all children because they are likely to get hurt in the head. Parents can put them in car seats while driving and closely watch them when they are playing. Prenatal care is a vital element in prevention of epilepsy.

Risk Factors of Epilepsy

The susceptibility of the human body to epileptic attacks is based on certain factors:

  • Age – childhood and people above 65 years of age
  • Sex – Men are more at risk of developing epilepsy
  • Family history
  • People with head injuries
  • Stroke, cysts and tumors in their heads – General vascular disorders
  • People suffering from brain infections like meningitis

Symptoms of Epilepsy

The symptoms are dependent on the severity and form of epilepsy of the patient. Since they can occur in and affect any part of the body, they are accompanied by different sensations and functions. During an epilepsy attack, the symptoms may be staring, blinking and twitching of eyelids and other parts. A general physical imbalance with dizziness and fainting accompanied by a loss of memory after regaining consciousness could be a possible symptom. Gnarled fingers and deviant mouth positions could be results of Seizure Disorder attacks. Clenched teeth, tongue caught between teeth and drooling are also common symptoms.

Treatment for Epilepsy

It is imperative to diagnose the conditions of epilepsy from the symptoms since treatment at an early stage has a better chance of curing the disorder. There are different modes of treatment present in the gamut of medical science to cure this disorder. Hospital care is mandatory in the case of Seizure Disorder. Doctors from different streams of medicine are responsible for treating this medical condition. A neurologist is essential in monitoring and assessing the brain activities of the patient while a pediatric neurologist is skilled in handling the neuronal activities of a child. A lot of rest with healthy food and care is required for the person to attain good health conditions at the earliest.

Types of Epilepsy

There are different types of epilepsy, most of which are listed below.

  • Idiopathic Generalized Epilepsy
    These cases are usually accompanied by a family history of epilepsy.
  • Idiopathic Partial Epilepsy
    May or may not have a family history, but they begin in childhood.
  • Symptomatic Generalized Epilepsy
    These are marked by widespread brain damage. Could be a result of injury during childbirth
  • Symptomatic Partial Epilepsy
    These are common in adults. They can be a result of tumors, strokes and trauma.