Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes people to have recurring seizures. The seizures happen when clusters of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain send out the wrong signals. People may have strange sensations and emotions or behave strangely. They may have violent muscle spasms or lose consciousness.
It can be scary watching someone have an epileptic seizure. The person may lose consciousness or seem unaware of what's going on, make involuntary motions (movements the person has no control over, such as jerking or thrashing one or more parts of the body), or experience unusual feelings or sensations (such as unexplained fear). After a seizure, he or she may feel tired, weak, or confused.
Signs and Symptoms of Epilepsy:
All areas of the brain (the cortex) are involved in a generalized seizure. Sometimes these are referred to as grand mal seizures. To the observer, the person experiencing such a seizure may cry out or make some sound, stiffen for some seconds, then have rhythmic movements of the arms and legs. Often the rhythmic movements slow before stopping.
Loss of consciousness distinguishes complex partial seizures from simple partial seizures. While unconscious, the patient may have "vacant" or "frightened" look and may have signs and symptoms of a simple partial seizure. Automatisms may occur during unconsciousness.
Complex partial seizures. These seizures alter consciousness, causing you to lose awareness for a period of time. Complex partial seizures often result in staring and nonpurposeful movements such as hand rubbing, lip smacking, arm positioning, vocalization or swallowing.
Simple partial seizures are further subdivided into four categories according to the nature of their symptoms: motor, autonomic, sensory or psychological. Motor symptoms include movements such as jerking and stiffening. Sensory symptoms caused by seizures involve unusual sensations affecting any of the five senses (vision, hearing, smell, taste or touch). When simple partial seizures cause sensory symptoms only (and not motor symptoms), they are called "auras."
Treatment for Epilepsy:
Medications - In many cases, seizures can be successfully prevented with medications. The type of medication your child will receive depends on many factors. Your child's neurologist will explain how the medication should be taken and the side effects that may occur. Over time, your child's medication regimen may be changed. It is very important that your child take their medication exactly as directed. Call your neurologist if you have any questions about the medications or if your child is experiencing unexpected side effects.
Surgery is most commonly done when tests show that your seizures originate in a small, well-defined area in the temporal lobes or the frontal lobes of your brain. Surgery is rarely an option if you have seizures that start in several areas of the brain or if you have seizures originating from a region of the brain that contains vital brain functions.
Do not try to force the mouth open with any hard implement or with fingers. It is not true that a person having a seizure can swallow his/her tongue, and efforts to hold the tongue down can injure his/her teeth or jaw. A person in the middle of a seizure may bite down with enough force to bite off fingers.
Ketogenic diet: Some children with epilepsy have been helped by adopting a rigid diet that's high in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates. The goal of the diet is to get the body to produce ketones, which cause the body to use fat instead of glucose for energy. The exact way in which the ketogenic diet works is unclear.
2-Major Causes Epilepsy:
The brain experiences a wide array of activity that is electrical based on a daily basis. This is considered to be normal according to medical professionals. When there is a disturbance of this normal activity, epilepsy may develop. There are many different factors that may trigger this brain disorder in an individual.
Many medical professionals that have evaluated epilepsy patients for a specific cause of incident are able to identify certain triggers. In as much as 75% of all cases of epilepsy, it is difficult to determine one specific cause for the development of the brain disorder. In this epilepsy guide, you will learn about the most common triggers associated with the condition.
Chemistry of the Brain:
In many cases of epilepsy, medical professionals find that there is an imbalance in the brain. This imbalance relates to the chemicals that are found in the brain. These chemicals are referred to as neurotransmitters. There are two main neurotransmitter types that seem to have an impact on whether or not someone experiences epilepsy.
These are referred to as "excitatory" and "inhibitory". There seems to be an excessive amount of the excitatory type and too little of the inhibitory type. One of the main neurotransmitters that seem to be low in the brain chemistry of the epileptic is "GABA" or "Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid".
Epileptics also seem to experience changes in the cells that are identified as "Gila". These cells assist in the regulation of chemicals that are located in the brain that directly relate to the signals emitted to and from neurons.
Medical professionals have established the fact that epilepsy may also be caused by genetics. Case studies have indicated that there is a specific gene that experiences abnormalities within families that are susceptible to this brain disorder. The genes that are affected are those that are responsible for processing certain types of chemicals within the body.
The way the body processes the chemicals is altered just slightly, but could result in the onset of epilepsy despite only a small change. Those that suffer from primary generalized seizures in epilepsy are the ones that are most likely to experience the brain disorder due to genetic predisposition.
Injuries and Disorders:There are many cases of epilepsy in those that may have received an injury to the head or in those that may suffer from other types of disorders. In many cases, there are disorders that will result in damage to the brain. In some instances, treatment that addresses a condition that is considered to be underlying may result in cessation as far as the seizures are concerned.
In other cases, the seizures will continue despite the fact that the underlying condition has been treated. There are many factors that come into play when it comes to determining whether or not seizures will stop once treatment has been administered. Examples include how much damage has been caused to the brain, the type of injury and/or condition, and the actual part of the brain that has been affected. The following represents disorders that may result in the onset of epilepsy:
- Tumors in the Brain
- Alcohol and/or Drug Abuse
- Alzheimer's disease and Dementia
- Heart Attack
- Cerebrovascular disease
- Metabolic disorders
- Developmental disorders
- Infectious diseases
If you have experienced a seizure, it is always best to seek medical treatment to determine the cause of the occurrence. There are many medical treatments that may be issued so that the seizures will stop. Remember, a seizure indicates a serious medical condition that should always be treated by a medical professional.
3- References :
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