Epilepsy is a neurological disorder of the central nervous system in which the activity of the nerve cell in the brain is disturbed, causing a seizure due to which one can experience abnormal behaviour, different symptoms and sensations which also include loss of consciousness.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder of the central nervous system in which the activity of the nerve cell in the brain is disturbed, causing a seizure due to which one can experience abnormal behaviour, different symptoms and sensations which also include loss of consciousness. Seizure symptoms usually vary among people.

What are the variants of Epilepsy?

There is only one variant of Epilepsy with many different causes. Epilepsy is usually characterized by seizures.

What are the causes of Epilepsy?

There is no identifiable cause found, but the condition can be traced to various factors like:

  • Genetic influence: Some types of Epilepsy are categorized by the type of seizure a person experiences, which runs in the family. It is believed that in such cases there’s a genetic influence. Genes are only part of the cause of Epilepsy for some people. Whereas some genes in other people can make them more sensitive to environmental conditions that trigger seizures
  • Head trauma: If a person is injured in an accident or has experienced any traumatic injury, it can cause Epilepsy
  • Brain conditions: Brain conditions like brain tumours or strokes that result in damage to the brain can also cause Epilepsy
  • Infectious diseases: Many infectious diseases like AIDS, meningitis and encephalitis can also result in Epilepsy
  • Development disorders: Sometimes developmental disorders, like autism and neurofibromatosis are also associated with Epilepsy
Which factors increase the risk of Epilepsy?
  • Age: Age is the most common factor in developing Epilepsy, either in early childhood or after the age of 60
  • Family history: If a person has a family history of Epilepsy, then the person may be at an increased risk of developing the same
  • Head injuries: Head injuries are highly responsible in some cases for developing Epilepsy.
  • Stroke and other vascular diseases: Diseases like stroke and other vascular diseases lead to brain damage that may further trigger Epilepsy. Limiting the intake of alcohol, eating a healthy diet along with proper exercise regime can reduce the chance of these diseases
  • Brain Infections: Meningitis which causes inflammation in the brain increases the risk of developing Epilepsy
What are the signs and symptoms of Epilepsy?

Abnormal activity in the brain cells causes Epilepsy, seizures affect any process that our brain co-ordinates. Seizure usually produces symptoms like:

  • Temporary confusion
  • Loss of consciousness or awareness
  • Psychic symptoms
  • Staring Spell
  • Uncontrollable jerking movement of the legs and arms

The symptoms usually depend on the type of seizure, but in most cases the person suffering from Epilepsy has the same type of seizure always. So the symptoms remain similar.

What are the types of Seizures?
  • Focal Seizures- When seizures appear due to the abnormal activity of the brain in just one area, they are referred as focal or partial seizures. They fall into two categories:
  • Simple focal seizures: They do not result in the loss of the person’s consciousness, but they can change emotions or at times alter the way things feel, taste, sound, smell, or look. Simple focal seizures also result in tingling and dizziness.
  • Dyscognitive focal seizures: They basically alter the awareness and may cause the person to lose awareness for some time. They also often result in constant staring, and purposeless movements like chewing, swallowing, rubbing or walking in circles.
  • Generalized seizures- The seizures that involve all the areas of the brain are known as generalized seizures. There are six variants of generalised seizures.
  • Absence seizures: Absence seizures are associated with constant staring, subtle body movement, along with a brief loss of consciousness.
  • Tonic seizures: Tonic seizures are responsible for stiffening of the muscles of the back, legs and arms, which at times can cause the person to fall to the ground.
  • Clonic seizures: They are basically associated with jerking and rhythmic muscle movements of the neck, arms and face.
  • Myoclonic seizures: They usually are associated with twitches and jerks of our arms and legs.
  • Atonic seizures: They are also referred as drop seizures, as they result in loss of muscle control, which causes the person to collapse or fall down suddenly.
  • Tonic-clonic seizures: They are also known as grand mal seizures and are associated with body stiffening, shaking, and biting the tongue and at times loss of bladder control.
Which consultant should be consulted if a person is suffering from Epilepsy?

One should consult a Neurologist, Neurosurgeon or a Physician.

Which home remedies can help in controlling Epilepsy?
  • Take your medication correctly: The dosage levels should not be adjusted without consulting the doctor. If any change is required, the doctor should be consulted
  • Get enough sleep: Adequate sleep is a must for the people suffering from Epilepsy, as lack of sleep can trigger seizures
  • Exercise: Regular exercise helps in keeping the person physically fit and reduces depression

Stress should be managed; cigarettes and alcoholic beverages should be avoided.

Is Epilepsy Curable?

Epilepsy is not curable but it can be controlled with medications and healthy lifestyle.

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