Epilepsy is a disorder that causes abnormal activities in the brain, so it is related to neurological disorders. It leads to seizures or unusual sensation, behavior, and sometimes unconsciousness. Epilepsy can affect anyone, and it can be both females and males. Kids and adults can develop epilepsy.
However, seizure symptoms differ widely. Some might jerk their legs when they suffer from seizures, whereas some others might stare for a few seconds when they have seizures.
You shouldn’t assume that every seizure indicates epilepsy. If you develop two unprovoked seizures, then you have to take it seriously to check whether it is epilepsy.
Is there a cure for Epilepsy?
Yes, there are different treatments to cure Epilepsy. Along with different medications, a proper diet, exercise, and surgery (if required) might cure Epilepsy. The doctor will not prescribe medicine on the first visit. Instead, he will study the patient’s condition before finalizing a prescription.
- Type of seizures
- How often you get seizures
- Your age
- Your sex
- Other medical conditions
Some drugs may not work for some people, so treating epilepsy will be an individual process. The one with Epilepsy should begin with low doses and increase over time as per doctor’s instructions.
Before the treatment, you should get a blood test. The doctor will assess the body to check whether it can undergo treatments.
As per the type of epilepsy, the medication will vary, and so will dose. It is important to mention if there are other medications used by the person diagnosed with epilepsy. The reason is seizure medication might not work well with other drugs.
Some facts about Epilepsy
- It is a neurological disorder.
- It can be treated with several medications.
- During seizures, nobody should force anything into the mouth.
- Don’t restrain seizures because they end automatically after a few seconds.
- Epilepsy is not a contagious disease.
- Anyone has the risk of developing epilepsy.
- Most people who have epilepsy can lead a normal life, but frequent seizures might create a barrier for driving, working, or some other activities.
- Many people who have developed epilepsy have been treated successfully. But sometimes, it becomes impossible to cure. As for stats, in the United States, 1 million people have epilepsy that can’t be cured.
- Epilepsy is not a rare disease.
- Epilepsy can develop as a neurological condition. But there are times that it can be developed due to conditions such as autism, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Deaths can occur from epilepsy. As for stats, 1 out of a thousand people who are diagnosed with epilepsy die cause of it.
Causes of Epilepsy Disease
The causes of epilepsy are not easy to find. There might be a lot of causes of epilepsy. However, 60% of the time, doctors are clueless about the causes. But 40% of the time, causes of epilepsy can be the following:
There are chances that epilepsy is running in families. Or sometimes, it might have some connection with genes. As for stats, around 500 genes have epilepsy development chances.
There are different genes with different effects. Sometimes, certain genes might cause problems when different medications are consumed. Or some other times, it can be the neurons’ communication. There are chances for epilepsy to be one of the parts of a certain syndrome. These syndromes have a link with genetics.
Before birth injuries
Another cause of this disease is before birth injuries. If there is anything that might damage the brain of the child, it will lead to epilepsy. The baby’s brain and head are fragile after and before birth.
During childbirth, doctors will be careful not to cause any injuries. But after birth, parents need to take care of the baby to prevent injuries. Common causes during or before delivery are infections, abnormal labor, head trauma, placenta, oxygen deprivation, and more. There are signs before birth injuries such as lethargy, breathing difficulty, abnormal heart rate, and more.
Head traumas that impact the brain will develop epilepsy. Gunshots, accidents, falls, and much more can be considered as the cause. These causes might cause brain swelling or bleeding. During head traumas, the person will not react immediately. Instead, it will be after a few weeks of the injury. This is post-traumatic epilepsy.
Both older adults and children have epilepsy. Older adults are prone to brain conditions, including brain tumors, strokes, and Alzheimer’s disease. All of these might cause epilepsy.
Stroke is one of the main conditions of epilepsy. In fact, autism or neurofibromatosis might link epilepsy, too. As for stats, 1/3 of people who have autism develop epilepsy.
Infectious diseases, including AIDs, viral encephalitis, and meningitis, have the chances of causing epilepsy. Infectious diseases have a high chance of associating with epilepsy. This is common in developing countries. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is commonly seen among babies.
However, it has the chance to cause epilepsy in babies. Both viruses and bacteria are reasons for infectious disease, but parasites also can cause seizures. For example, cerebral malaria might cause seizures.
Apart from these causes, there are some other reasons which can’t be easily identified.
Diagnosis of Epilepsy disease
As there are a lot of types of epilepsy diseases, it is not possible to identify the disease without doctors’ help. The doctors will request the person to get a blood test.
Along with that, family details and genetic disorders will be taken into consideration. Likewise, the doctor will do a thorough check-up to find whether a person is diagnosed with epilepsy.
- Seizures are the major symptom of epilepsy, but they vary:
Repetitive swallowing while staring without any movements. Not moving for a few seconds can also be considered a symptom that may happen too many times within a day.
- The tonic seizures will last for a few minutes. This type of seizure causes the person to lose consciousness and might even fall. Along with this, they might be jerking as well. After tonic seizures, the patient will go to deep sleep.
- A detachment from the surroundings while focusing on aimless fiddling can be considered a symptom.
- There will be abdominal discomfort, deja-vu, hallucination, and more.
- The motor seizures are twitching of legs and hands that spread all over the body. This kind of seizure occurs when the patient paralyzes or gets weak.
Tests for Epilepsy disease
There are different laboratory tests that a person needs to take to find out whether the person is diagnosed with epilepsy.
Blood tests- the blood sample will be obtained to find genetic conditions, signs of infection, and more.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – This test records the abnormalities and lesions of your brain that are caused by seizures.
Electroencephalogram (EEG)-this is a diagnostic test that helps to find the brain’s electrical impulses. By using this test result, it is easy to diagnose and find the epilepsy type.
Functional MRI- this test will measure the blood flow changes that happen when certain parts of the brain work.
Positron emission tomography (PET) – this test will help to visualize the areas so that it is easy to find abnormalities in your brain.
Single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) – this test is taken when EEG and MRI are not supporting to find the brain part where seizures happen.
Neuropsychological tests- this is done to check the memory, speech, and thinking skills.
Strategies to manage Epilepsy
Epilepsy patients shouldn’t stress on their sickness, because it will increase the problems. Besides, epilepsy is curable. Along with medications, diet, and lifestyle differences, caretakers should focus on the patient.
It is important to be with the person affected by epilepsy until he or she recovers. Also, do the following:
- Call the doctor if you have never handled seizures.
- Dial an emergency number if the person continues to have seizures.
- Be helpful and calm. Seizures are harmless and will reduce within a few seconds or minutes.
- If the person starts jerking or twitching, move the harmful things away from him or her.
- Turn the person affected by epilepsy to his or her side.
- Don’t force anything into the mouth of the person having epilepsy.
- Watch how long seizures occur, if possible.
- Examine the person during the seizure so that it will be helpful. If possible, video record the movements.
How to prevent Epilepsy?
There are a few things that a person can do to prevent epilepsy. Until more methods are found, it is better to follow the available ones.
It is better to stop doing things that enhance the chance of getting seizures. Here are some ways to prevent epilepsy:
- Get proper sleep every night and stick to a schedule.
- Focus on relaxation techniques and stress management.
- Don’t drink or use drugs.
- Follow the doctor’s prescription and don’t avoid medications.
- Avoid visual stimuli.
- Avoid computer time and TV as much as possible.
- Don’t engage in video games.
- Follow a proper diet.