Epilepsy - Health Center


By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST

Epilepsy - Overview

Brain has emerged out to be the master computer which governs the running of all the systems of our human body. Therefore, all the functions of the body are the ones that can be triggered by the messages of the brain. Epilepsy has emerged out to be a disease in which due to the excessive electric activity of the brain, there is an overload of the activity and thus, this causes the temporary disturbance in the messaging of the brain cells. In conditions such as this, there is the occurrence of seizures.

The word epilepsy has emerged from the Greek word, epi, which means close up and leptos, which means seizures. Life expectancy of a person suffering from epilepsy is around 11 times less than a person who is normal and does not suffer from epilepsy. Not only have that, around the world 70 million people suffered from epilepsy.

A recent research conducted by World Health Organization quoted that around twice as many people suffer from epilepsy in developing countries as compared with developed countries. Also, around 60% of people suffering from this disease in developing countries are not able to afford proper treatment and therefore, their disease remains untreated.

Health agencies in developing countries neglect the need for the treatment of epilepsy, although the treatment of the disease is very cost effective and easily available.

Under the major types of seizures that are undergone by people suffering from epilepsy, some of the major ones are as follows:

1. Idopathic Seizures: This means that there is no apparent cause for the occurrence of these.
2. Cryptogenic Seizures: In this kind of seizure, the doctors think that the most probably a cause is there, but they are not able to pin point the main cause.
3. Symptomatic Seizures: In these kinds of seizures, the main cause of the seizure is well known.

According to the various part of the brain where these seizures originate, the different types of seizures are as follows:

1. Partial Seizure: This means that the epileptic activity has taken place in just a specific part of the patient’s brain.

This is further of two major types :

  • Simple Partial Seizure: during this kind of seizure, the person is conscious. In most of the cases of simple partial seizure the person is also aware of his surroundings, even though he is undergoing the seizures.
  • Complex Partial Seizure: During this kind of seizure, the consciousness of the person is impaired. This means that the person is not able to remember his seizure and therefore, he does not have the recollection / vague recollection of the seizure.

2. Generalized Seizures: these kinds of seizures are the ones in which both halves of the brain are undergoing the epileptic activity. Also, during this, the unconsciousness of the patient is lost even though the seizure is in progress.

3. Secondary Generalized Seizures: In these kind of seizures the patients epileptic activity has started as a partial seizure, but it later on goes on to spread to both the halves of the brain. During the progression of the seizure, the person tends to lose consciousness.

Major Symptoms of Epilepsy

The major symptoms of people suffering from epilepsy are repeated seizures. On top of that, there are some other symptoms which may point out that the person is suffering from epilepsy.Even if one or more of these symptoms are present, it is advised that the person should be going in for the medical examination.

The major symptoms are as follows:

1. Repeated convulsions without rise in temperature (or no fever)
2. Short, yet repeated spells of blackouts or having a confused yet vague memory
3. Intermittent dizzying and fainting spells
4. Loss of bladder control during fainting spells
5. Extreme fatigue
6. Sudden lack of responsiveness towards people or surroundings
7. Sudden attack of stiffness in the person for no real reason
8. Sudden falling of the person
9. Sudden bouts of blinking without the lack of an apparent stimulus.
10. Sudden bouts of chewing, without no real reason
11. Dazed and glazed look for sometime
12. Inability to communicate
13. Repetitive movements
14. Sudden fearfulness, getting panicked or angry
15. Changes in the senses, such as smell, touch or listening
16. Seizure like movements – such as jerking off the legs, arms or jerking off the entire body in case of babies.

These are some of the best known symptoms for people who have suffered through major epileptic attacks. Upon the occurrence of many or some of these symptoms, it is recommended that medical help should be sought without any delay.

Treatments of Epilepsy

When the diagnosis of Epilepsy has been made, then the next step will be the doctor discussing the best treatment options with the patient and his family. Sometimes, surgery is the best option to correct the part of the brain which is held responsible for the occurrence of these symptoms. Also, after the diagnosis of epilepsy, doctors can go out and prescribe the seizure preventing drugs to the patients which are also known as anti epileptic drugs.

In case the drugs do not seemingly work out for the patients, then the next possible step of treatment would be to go for surgery or for the Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation therapy, which has emerged out to be another one of the ground breaking treatments for epilepsy.

Anti Epileptic Drugs:

AED’s are to be taken orally by the patients. Only after deciding the type of seizure that the patient has been suffering from, can the doctor prescribe the wanted AED. Not all AED’s act in the same way. They depend from one to the other. Also, these drugs are well known to make sure that they can stop the seizures from occurring and therefore, only one kind of patient can benefit from this drug.
AED’s basically work out to make sure that there is a modification in the structures as well as the processes involved which rule out the development of the seizures. The many factors can be the structure of the neurons, the glia, ion channels or even the synapses. Thus, with the help of these drugs, the inhibition can be triggered in order to stop the seizure from occurring.

Children are often prescribed with the same AED’s as adults. The AED’s are available all over the world in the form of syrups, tablets, capsules and even sprinklers. Some of the best known AED’s are as follows: Carbamazepine, Clobazam and Clonazepam.

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