What Is Epilepsy

In general, Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes recurring seizure attacks in an individual. It is also known as a seizure disorder. A seizure is a result of a sudden rise in the electrical activity in the brain, that impacts one’s appearance and the way they act. Here’s what you need to know about epilepsy, and the ways to manage this condition.

Causes of epilepsy  

In general, Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes repeated seizures. It is a chronic condition that occurs due to some abnormal electrical signals happening in the brain. The sudden surge in the electrical signals results because of the damaged brain cells. These fluctuations lead to a seizure disorder. Individuals suffering from this condition may experience changes in their emotions, behavior, awareness, muscle control, and sensations throughout the body due to seizures. Let us have a look at the factors that cause epilepsy or seizure disorder:

  • Genetics

The likelihood of an individual experiencing this neurological disorder is high when it runs in their family. This is a type of genetic disorder that can be passed on from generation to generation. There are specific genes that are involved in affecting the electrical signals of the brain. Genes contribute to cellular damage in the brain, and that is how abnormal brain function happens. Thus, genetic predisposition increases an individual’s chances of developing a seizure disorder.

  • Brain tumor

In general, Brain tumors can lead to epileptic seizures. Tumors are the mass of cells that grow abnormally and while getting bigger, they put pressure on the surrounding cells of the brain. It affects the normal functioning of the brain by impacting the chemical processes and signal transmission. Tumor causes major disturbance in brain functioning and potentiates the risk of epileptic disorder.

  • Head injuries

Accidents, a blow to the head, and a sudden fall can cause a traumatic injury to the head, which can lead to epilepsy. This can give rise to several other problems persistent vomiting, convulsions, amnesia, and so on.

  • Infectious diseases

Diseases like HIV, parasitic infections, Meningitis, and viral infections can lead to epileptic disorder.

  • Neurological disorders

Disorders like Alzheimer’s cerebrovascular diseases, dementias, Parkinson’s, etc. can cause epilepsy.

Symptoms of epileptic disorder

The symptoms of epilepsy or seizure disorder may vary according to the type. Seizures can be indicated through the symptoms including:

  • Confusion
  • Stiffness in muscles
  • Sudden loss of awareness
  • Difficulty to concentrate
  • Uncontrollable jerking movements of the body, especially arms and legs
  • Psychological disorders like stress, anxiety, fear
  • Staring spells

Epilepsy diagnosis and treatment

The doctor will ask you to get some screening tests done, which will help them to rule out the exact cause of seizures. They will confirm whether you are having actual seizures, or if it is just a side effect of some drug or alcohol withdrawal. Your physical exam will be conducted, and your medical history will also help your doctor to conclude.

The doctor will ask you several detailed questions regarding your general health and the kind of symptoms and difficulties you are facing when the seizure hits. They will also inquire about your family history, to check whether it is a cause of inheritance. Based on the tests and analysis, they may prescribe some anti-epileptic medications and treatments that shall aid in the treatment of your condition.

Treatment & Medications

The treatment and medications will be different for every individual, as epileptic disorders can be of various types. It may also depend on several other factors such as age, gender, other health conditions, etc. The doctor may suggest some tests like blood tests, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for brain scans, Electroencephalogram (ECG),

Seek immediate medical attention when:

The seizure persists for more than five minutes

  • In case of repeated seizures
  • You are having a high fever
  • Difficulty breathing after a seizure
  • Loss of consciousness after the seizure
  • You are pregnant
  • Had an injury during a seizure
  • Have diabetes

Ways to prevent seizure

  • The best way to prevent seizures is by taking the medications prescribed by your doctor regularly and at the same time. It is necessary to follow your doctor’s instructions on how and when to consume medications and when to show up for routine checkups. 
  • Refrain from consuming alcohol and drugs.
  • Perform physical activity and exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes.
  • Get adequate sleep and rest.
  • Follow a healthy diet and eat clean.
  • Do not use any other medication without informing your doctor, there is the possibility of drug interaction which can increase your health risk.
  • Learn to manage your stress. Do some deep breathing and meditative exercises, which will help you calm your mind.
  • Identify the seizure triggers and learn to cope with them.

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