Epilepsy Symptoms, Causes & Treatment


Epilepsy is a central nervous system disorder (neurological disorder) in which nerve cell activity in the brain becomes disrupted, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations and sometimes loss of consciousness. Seizure symptoms can vary widely. Some people with epilepsy simply stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others repeatedly twitch their arms or legs.

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Symptoms of Epilepsy

Epilepsy is caused by abnormal activity in brain cells, seizures can affect any process your brain coordinates. Symptoms vary depending on the type of seizure. In most cases, a person with epilepsy will tend to have the same type of seizure each time, Seizure signs and symptoms may include:

  • TEMPORARY CONFUSION
  • A STARING SPELL
  • UNCONTROLLABLE JERKING MOVEMENTS OF THE ARMS AND LEGS
  • LOSS OF CONSCIOUSNESS
  • PSYCHIC SYMPTOMS

Seizures are classified into 2 types:

  • Focal Seizures
  • Generalized Seizures

Focal Seizures:

Focal seizures without loss of consciousness (simple partial seizures)

These seizures don’t cause a loss of consciousness. They may alter emotions or change the way things look, smell, feel, taste or sound. They may also result in involuntary jerking of a body part, such as an arm or leg, and spontaneous sensory symptoms such as tingling, dizziness and flashing lights.

Focal dyscognitive seizures (complex partial seizures)

These seizures involve a change or loss of consciousness or awareness. During a complex partial seizure, you may stare into space and not respond normally to your environment or perform repetitive movements, such as hand rubbing, chewing, swallowing or walking in circles.

Generalized Seizures:

  • ABSENCE SEIZURES

    Absence seizures, previously known as petit mal seizures, often occur in children and are characterized by staring into space or subtle body movements such as eye blinking or lip smacking. These seizures may occur in clusters and cause a brief loss of awareness.

  • TONIC SEIZURES

    Tonic seizurescause stiffening of your muscles. These seizures usually affect muscles in your back, arms and legs and may cause you to fall to the ground.

  • ATONIC SEIZURES

    Atonic seizures,also known as drop seizures, cause a loss of muscle control, which may cause you to suddenly collapse or fall down.

  • CLONIC SEIZURES

    Clonic seizures are associated with repeated or rhythmic, jerking muscle movements. These seizures usually affect the neck, face and arms.

  • MYOCLONIC SEIZURES

    Myoclonic seizures usually appear as sudden brief jerks or twitches of your arms and legs.

  • TONIC-CLONIC SEIZURES

    Tonic-clonic seizures, previously known as grand mal seizures, are the most dramatic type of epileptic seizure and can cause an abrupt loss of consciousness, body stiffening and shaking, and sometimes loss of bladder control or biting your tongue.

Causes of Epilepsy:

  • GENETIC INFLUENCE
  • HEAD TRAUMA
  • BRAIN CONDITIONS
  • INFECTIOUS DISEASES
  • PRENATAL INJURY
  • DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS

Diagnosis for Epilepsy:

  • Neurological Examination
  • Blood Tests
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • Computerized Tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Functional MRI (fMRI)
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
  • Single-photon Emission Computerized Tomography (SPECT)
  • Neuropsychological Tests

Treatment for Epilepsy

Generally, Treatment of Epilepsy is starts with Medication. If Epilepsy is not cured by the medication then surgery is required. Most people with epilepsy can become seizure-free by taking one anti-seizure medication, called anti-epileptic medication. Others may be able to decrease the frequency and intensity of their seizures by taking a combination of medications.

Finding the right medication and dosage can be complex. Your doctor will consider your condition, frequency of seizures, your age and other factors when choosing which medication to prescribe. Your doctor will also review any other medications you may be taking, to ensure the anti-epileptic medications won’t interact with them.

Epilepsy Surgery

Surgery is most commonly done when tests show that your seizures originate in a small, well-defined area of your brain that doesn’t interfere with vital functions such as speech, language, motor function, vision or hearing. In surgery, your doctor removes the area of your brain that’s causing the seizures.

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