Epilepsy which is one of the most common types of neurological disorder or disorder of central nervous system can affect anyone irrespective of their age group. The patient suffering from Epilepsy experiences unpredictable or unprovoked seizures sometimes followed by loss of consciousness.
Causes of epilepsy
Talking about the cause of epilepsy it is either inherited or may be due to any brain injury but the actual cause is not known. The diagnosis ismade on the basis of number of unprovoked seizureperson experiences with one or more than one seizure that are unpredictable and uncontrollable leading to the diagnosis of epilepsy. The other tests are also run by the doctors for exact diagnosis as sometimes people confuse epilepsy with migraine and other neurological disorders. In short, brain is the part which is affected the most in epilepsy and since this is mainly related to intelligence, giving and receiving signals for performance of normal body functions, it causes great impact on proper functioning of the body.
Symptoms of epilepsy
Symptoms of epilepsy may vary from person to person; some patients only give a simple stare for few seconds during a seizure while others experience rapid movement of arms and legs.As stated above, the main controlling organ of the body is our brain and when it is affected, it affects any part of the body that it is coordinating with. Temporary confusion is also a symptom of epilepsy provided it is experienced repeatedly.
The seizures of epilepsy can be characterized into:
- Focal seizures
- Generalized seizures
Focal seizures are further divided into seizures without loss of consciousness and seizures with impaired awareness. In the former, the person is in his senses while he experiences the seizures by movement of arms and legs, change of emotions etc. The seizures with impaired awareness are complex seizures which cause loss of consciousness. A person exhibits total abnormal behavior sometimes by looking into the space, chewing something or walking in a different position, abnormally.
Generalized seizures are subdivided or classified into:
- Absence seizures or petit mal seizures in which a person stares into the space and moves facial features repeatedly.They mainly occur in children.
- The other category is tonic seizures which cause your muscles to become stiff and only affect the muscles in arms and back and may cause a person to lose consciousness.
- The third category wherein a person totally becomes unconscious and collapses down is called atonic seizures.
- Fourthly, clonic and myoclonic seizures involves a condition in whichthe person experiences sudden jerk of face, neck, arms and legs.
- The last category of generalized seizures is tonic-clonic or grand mal seizures, the most dangerous type, in which a person suddenly becomes unconscious and loses control over the bladder and experiences tongue biting. The body also shakes and becomes stiff.
Treatment of Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a treatable disorder and the drug therapy of Epilepsy is also there in which the doctorprescribes anticonvulsant drugs. Each drug has its own side effects and is given according to the severity of the disorder, person’s age, tolerance limit and medical history.
Key Facts and Statistics:
- As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 3.4 million U.S. people suffer from active epilepsy.
- According to the CDC, over 65 million people suffer from epilepsy worldwide.
- As per the Epilepsy Foundation, around 1 of 26 people may have epilepsy at any point of their lifetime.
- As per the Child Neurology Foundation, around 50%-60% of the children attacked with seizures will gradually be cured and will never have seizures at their adult age.
- According to the book- Epilepsy Across the Spectrum, epilepsy has become the fourth among the most common neuro diseases.
- Commonly, epilepsy is diagnosed before the age of 20 and after the age of 65.
- As per the CDC, around 3 million adults and 470,000 children in the United States were suffering from active epilepsy in 2015.