Epilepsy
Last Edited: April 10th, 2012

Coupons for Epilepsy

Epilepsy

Simply put, epilepsy is the persistent overloading of your body's nervous system with electrical impulses inside the brain. The gaps between the nerve cells in the brain are bridged by electrical impulses that send signals back and forth in the brain. When one of those connections is overloaded with electrical impulses, then the person will experience a seizure. If a person experiences two or more seizures in his lifetime, then he is considered to have epilepsy.

Definition

One of the common misconceptions about epilepsy is that it creates multiple, violent seizures as regular events. Seizures can be so mild that others may not even realize that a person is experiencing a seizure. The more violent seizures are not as common as may be believed. There are two types of seizures; simple focal and complex focal.

Simple focal seizures are seizures that may give visual indications such as body shaking or the jerking of arms or legs, but the person remains conscious. A complex focal seizure is one which results in unconsciousness.

Symptoms

Seizures are the common symptoms that doctors look for when diagnosing epilepsy. There are six common types of seizures that doctors will look for when diagnosing epilepsy.

Petit Mal seizures are mild and can often look like the person is simply not paying attention for a few seconds.

Tonic seizures can create a stiffening of the back and neck muscles which can result in collapsing to the floor.

Clonic seizures are the more common types and these are characterized by the jerking motion that most people associate with seizures.

Myoclonic seizures are also mild but give very visual clues such as rapid leg or arm twitches.

Atonic seizures cause a complete loss of muscle use and result in collapse.

Grand Mal seizures are intense episodes that result in long periods of violent shaking. These seizures can lead to collapse and even biting of the lip or the tongue.

Causes

In most cases, epilepsy is genetically passed down from one generation to the next. Other potential causes of epilepsy include head trauma, strokes and the AIDS virus.

Risk Factors

People who are genetically prone to epilepsy could start showing symptoms at any point in their life. People who experience medical conditions that can lead to epilepsy are often monitored by a doctor to look for symptoms. Other risk factors include your age and your gender. Men are typically more prone to epilepsy then women.

It is recommended that you get to a doctor immediately after you experience your first seizure. In some cases, the risks for damage may be higher. For example, women who are pregnant and people with diabetes could see an escalation in other medical conditions if epilepsy is not treated.

Treatment

The first step in a treatment program is to keep a log of when seizures occur and how severe the seizures are. If your doctor does not find an underlying cause for the seizures such as a brain tumor or brain infection, then he will prescribe anti-seizure medication. If the medication does not work, then more aggressive tactics such as surgery may be recommended.