Epilepsy is a common serious brain or neurological disorder.
Epilepsy is a chronic disorder that causes repetitive seizures. A seizure is a sudden rush of electrical activity in the brain.
There are two types of seizures which is generalized seizures and focal seizures. Generalized seizures affect the whole brain while focal seizures affect just one part of the brain.
Did you know that more men have epilepsy than women? This is because estrogen lowers thresholds for seizures whereas progesterone increases it.
Epilepsy is caused by abnormal activity in the brain. Sign and symptoms may include:
- Temporary confusion
- A staring spell or gaze
- Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs
- Loss of consciousness
- Psychic symptoms such as fear and anxiety.
- Genetic influence: epilepsy can be hereditary.
- Head trauma: a car accident that causes traumatic injury can cause epilepsy.
- Prenatal injury: Babies are sensitive to brain damage before birth. The causes of these conditions are infection in the mother, poor nutrition, or lack of oxygen.
- Brain conditions: damage to the brain such as strokes also can cause epilepsy.
Certain factors may increase the risk of epilepsy:
- Age: epilepsy is more common in children and older adults.
- Family history: A person can develop a seizure disorder when any family member has epilepsy.
- Head injuries.
- Stroke and other vascular diseases: this can lead to brain damage and triggers epilepsy.
- Falling: Falling during a seizure may injure the head.
- Drowning: If you have epilepsy, you’re more likely to drown while bathing or swimming. This is because you may have a seizure while in the water.
- Emotional health issues: People with epilepsy can get psychological problems, such as depression, and anxiety. This is because of the difficulties dealing with the condition itself and medication side effects.
How to Diagnose Epilepsy
Electroencephalogram (EEG) is the most common test used to diagnose epilepsy. Firstly, electrodes are attached to your scalp with a paste. Then, you may be asked to perform a task. After that, the electrodes will record the electrical activity of your brain. If there is a seizure, there will be changes in the normal brain wave pattern.
- Anti-epileptic drugs: These medications can reduce the number of seizures. Some people can eliminate seizures.
- Vagus nerve stimulator: This device is placed under the skin on the chest during surgery. It electrically stimulates the nerve that runs through your neck and prevents seizures.
- Ketogenic diet: This is a high fat with low carbohydrate diet.
- Brain surgery: Remove the area of the brain that causes seizures.
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