Epilepsy: How Does It Occur?

Epilepsy is a chronic disorder that causes recurrent seizures. The condition is mostly found in children. Epilepsy is quite different from seizures. Seizures are mostly found in adults. A seizure is a sudden rush of electrical activity in the brain. Which is a single occurrence, while epilepsy is characterized by recurrent seizures.

The general cause of epilepsy in a person may not be clear, however, certain factors might be responsible for the condition. Epilepsy condition occurs when the system is disrupted due to faulty electrical activity. Some other causes of epilepsy can include:

  1. Low oxygen during birth.Epilepsy on tablet screen
  2. Head injuries that occur during birth or from accidents.
  3. Brain tumors.
  4. Genetic conditions
  5. Infections such as meningitis
  6. Prenatal injury, or brain damage that occurs before birth.

Epilepsy symptoms

The most common symptom of epilepsy is repeated seizures. Other symptoms can include:

  • convulsion with no fever
  • intermittent fainting spells, during which bowel or bladder control is lost
  • the person becomes stiff
  • the person suddenly falls
  • for a short time the person seems dazed and unable to communicate
  • repetitive movements that seem inappropriate

Types of Sizures

A seizure in a person can be different in another. The descriptions of seizures and the types will determine the treatment mode. There are 3 types of seizures depending on where in the brain the activity started.

Partial seizure

A partial seizure means the epileptic activity took place in just part of the patient’s brain. There are two types of partial seizure:

  • Simple partial seizure – the patient is conscious during the seizure. In most cases, the patient is also aware of their surroundings, even though the seizure is in progress.
  • Complex partial seizure – the patient’s consciousness is impaired. The patient will generally not remember the seizure, and if they do, their memory will be vague.

Generalized seizure

A generalized seizure occurs when both halves of the brain have epileptic activity. The patient’s consciousness is lost while the seizure is in progress.

Tonic-clonic seizures (previously known as grand mal seizures): Perhaps the best known type of generalized seizure. They cause a loss of consciousness, body stiffness, and shaking.

Absence seizures: Previously called petit mal seizures, these involve short lapses in consciousness where the individual appears to be staring off into space. Absence seizures often respond well to treatment.

Tonic seizures: Muscles become stiff, and the person may fall.

Atonic seizures: A loss of muscle control causes the individual to drop suddenly.

Clonic seizures: This is associated with rhythmic, jerking movements.

Secondary generalized seizure

A secondary generalized seizure occurs when the epileptic activity starts as a partial seizure, but then spreads to both halves of the brain. As this development happens, the patient loses consciousness.

How to test for epilepsy
Electroencephalogram (EEG). This is the most common test used to diagnose epilepsy. In this test, doctors attach electrodes to your scalp with a paste-like substance. 
During an EEG, or electroencephalogram, electrical signals of the brain are recorded by sensors placed on the patient’s scalp. Blood Tests for Epilepsy Certain blood tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel, may be recommended as part of epilepsy diagnosis and treatment.
Treatment Options
The majority of epileptic seizures are controlled through drug therapy, particularly anticonvulsant drugs. The type of treatment prescribed will depend on several factors including the frequency and severity of the seizures as well as the person’s age, overall health, and medical history.

The treatment for epilepsy may involve suggery and preventing further reoccurence of the symptoms. There is currently no cure for most types of epilepsy.

If epilepsy is diagnosed, the doctor will prescribe seizure-preventing drugs or anti-epileptic drugs.

If drugs do not work, the next option could be surgery, a special diet or VNS (vagus nerve stimulation).

Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs)

The majority of AEDs are taken orally. The type of seizure the patient is having will decide which drug the doctor may prescribe.


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