Epilepsy Awareness Program - Epilepsy and Seizures
So what is epilepsy? What is a seizure? Will I have seizures forever? You may have a lot of questions about epilepsy. In Biomedresearches - Epilepsy awareness program, we will help you understand the basics, answer the most common questions, and empower you with the information you need to find a place for epilepsy in your life without turning it upside down.
Epilepsy cannot be cured, but it may be controlled through medication or surgery.
It is a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. In another words, Epilepsy is the continuing tendency of a person to have seizures. In epilepsy, the brain cells fire abnormal electrical signals that physically manifests as “seizure”
An epileptic seizure is caused by an abnormal electrical discharge from a group of nerve cells in the brain. There are many different types of epilepsy and many different causes of epilepsy. There are many kinds of seizures, but all involve abnormal electrical activity in the brain that causes an involuntary change in body movement or function, sensation, awareness, or behavior.
Adult onset seizures are almost always caused by a structural problem within the brain. Epileptic seizures can be classified as partial or generalized, simple or complex. In partial epileptic seizures the seizure activity is restricted to a local area in the brain, whereas in generalized seizures a larger area and both sides of the brain are affected, such that the fitting normally associated with epileptic seizures can occur. A simple epileptic seizure is one where there is no loss of consciousness. In a complex epileptic seizure there may be loss of awareness.
When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy.
Epilepsy is usually controlled, but cannot be cured with medication, although surgery may be considered in difficult cases. However, over 30% of people with epilepsy do not have seizure control even with the best available medications.
Not all epilepsy syndromes are lifelong – some forms are confined to particular stages of childhood.
Epilepsy should not be understood as a single disorder, but rather as syndromic with vastly divergent symptoms but all involving episodic abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
A seizure happens when a brief, strong surge of electrical activity affects part or all of the brain. One in 10 adults will have a seizure sometime during their life.
Seizures can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. They can have many symptoms, from convulsions and loss of consciousness to some that are not always recognized as seizures by the person experiencing them or by health care professionals: blank staring, lip smacking, or jerking movements of arms and legs.
The seizures in epilepsy may be related to a brain injury or a family tendency, but most of the time the cause is unknown. The word "epilepsy" does not indicate anything about the cause of the person's seizures, what type they are, or how severe they are.
How Does A Doctor Make The Diagnosis Of Epilepsy?
The first step in making a diagnosis of epilepsy is a complete medical history. The doctor will ask questions about:
• Whether the person or the person's family has a history of seizures.
• What the seizure looked like.
• What happened just before the seizure began.
• Possible causes other than epilepsy, such as alcohol withdrawal, infections, head injury, or drug abuse.
Because some people with seizure disorders can't always remember what happened just before or during a seizure, a family member may also be asked for details.
A number of tests will be ordered to confirm the diagnosis of epilepsy. These include:
• Electroencephalography (EEG) More info
• Brain imaging (CT, MRI, PET)
• Blood tests
• Developmental, neurological, and behavioral tests
Epilepsy Vital Statistics:
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition characterized by recurrent seizures.
It is the most common serious neurological (brain) condition. Around 10-12% of people will have a seizure during their lifetime, and 3-4% of people will be diagnosed with epilepsy at some point. While many people consider epilepsy a disease of childhood, in fact epilepsy is far commoner in people over 60 years than in people under 20 years of age.
Epilepsy can be caused by by many different conditions that affect a person’s brain. Often no definite cause can be found and it cannot be transmitted from person to person.
About 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, with almost 90% of these people being in developing countries.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
For more videos, you may visit the Epilepsy.com web site and get detailed explanation from their Epilepsy therapy project and download transcript of video such as:
See Also: Neurophysiology Health Corner
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