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  • Epilepsy

    What Is Epilepsy?

    Seizures abnormal movements or behavior due to unusual electrical activity in the brain -- are a symptom of epilepsy. But not all people who appear to have seizures have epilepsy; epilepsy is a group of related disorders characterized by a tendency for recurrent seizures.

    Non-epileptic seizures (called pseudoseizures) are not accompanied by abnormal electrical activity in the brain and may be caused by psychological issues or stress. However, non-epileptic seizures look like true seizures, which makes diagnosis more difficult. Normal EEG readings and lack of response to epileptic drugs are two clues they are not true epileptic seizures. These types of seizure may be treated with psychiatric medications.

    Provoked seizures are single seizures that may occur as the result of trauma, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), low blood sodium, high fever, or alcohol or drug abuse. Fever-related (or febrile) seizures may occur during infancy but are usually outgrown by age 6. After a careful evaluation to estimate the risk of recurrence, patients who suffer a single seizure may not need treatment.

    Seizure disorder is a general term used to describe any condition in which seizures may be a symptom. Seizure disorder is a general term that it is often used in place of the term 'epilepsy.'

    • What Causes Epilepsy?

    Epilepsy occurs as a result of abnormal electrical activity originating in the brain. Brain cells communicate by sending electrical signals in an orderly pattern. In epilepsy, these electrical signals become abnormal, giving rise to an "electrical storm" that produces seizures. These storms may be within a specific part of the brain or be generalized, depending on the type of epilepsy.

    • Types of Epilepsy :

    Patients with epilepsy may experience more than one seizure type. This is because seizures are only symptoms. Therefore, it is essential that your neurologist diagnose your type of epilepsy, not just the type(s) of seizure you are having. How Is Epilepsy Treated? The majority of epileptic seizures are controlled through drug therapy. Diet may also be used along with medications.

    In certain cases in which medications and diet are not working, surgery may be used. 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. An accurate diagnosis of the type of epilepsy is also critical to choosing the best treatment.

    Causes of Epilepsy:

    There are around 180,000 new cases of epilepsy each year. About 30% occur in children. Children and elderly adults are the ones most often affected. There is a clear cause for epilepsy in only a minority of the cases. Typically, the known causes of seizure involve some injury to the brain. Some of the main causes of epilepsy include:

    • * low oxygen during birth
    • * head injuries that occur during birth or from accidents during youth or adulthood
    • * brain tumors
    • * genetic conditions that result in brain injury, such as tuberous sclerosis
    • * infections such as meningitis or encephalitis
    • * stroke or any other type of damage to the brain
    • * abnormal levels of substances such as sodium or blood sugar

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