Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes repeated seizures. A seizure is usually a sudden altercation of bodily movements caused by sudden uncontrolled electrical impulses between the brain cells(also known as nerve cells or neurons). The imbalance in electrical impulse becomes frequent resulting in seizures leading to epilepsy.
Seizures that are used to diagnose epilepsy can vary. In fact, they vary so much that epilepsy specialists often reclassify them. But the most basic classification is of two types: primary generalized seizures and partial seizures. They are differentiated based on how they begin. Primary generalized seizures begin with a widespread electrical discharge which involves both left and right brain. Partial seizures begin with electrical discharge at one particular area of the brain.
Epilepsy is fairly common in India. More than 10 lakh people in India and around 5 crore people around the world suffer from epilepsy. There are many contributing factors for epilepsy, some of them in adults are alcohol or drug abuse and/or a brain injury in the past. Epilepsy can also be genetic. We should know that all these factors make up the cause of epilepsy in about 30% of the patients. In around 70% of epilepsy cases, the cause is unknown.
Other causes of epilepsy can include:
– Neurological problems
– Brain tumors
– Drug withdrawal
– Certain medications or use of illicit drugs
Signs and Symptoms
As we know epilepsy is caused by unusual activity in the brain, we can see that there is an irregularity in how the brain coordinates with the body. There are different signs to know if a person is experiencing seizures. They are as follows-
- Confusion or appearing to be in a haze
- Stiffening of the body
- Breathing problems
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
- Rapid eye blinking
- Staring continuously
- Temporary uncontrollable movements of arms and legs
- Getting unconscious or unawareness
- Some psychological factors like fear or anxiety
The doctor makes a diagnosis based on the symptoms, the frequency of the occurrence of the symptoms, physical signs indicated through tests like an electroencephalogram(ECG) or a computed tomography(CT) scan. As there are many types of epilepsy and the seizures that cause it, it is essential to diagnose the right type of seizure and the type of epilepsy before the doctor can prescribe a suitable treatment.
The treatment of epilepsy can be through medications, surgery and by following certain diets. Medications are the go-to treatment options for most patients. The medication controls the symptoms of epilepsy, namely seizures. It does not cure the underlying conditions. The medications have a very high chance of controlling the seizures. Around 70% of the patients do not need to undergo surgery and can manage epilepsy just through medications alone.
There are not many medications in the market for epilepsy yet it becomes difficult for patients to find suitable medication for them. Patients should always discuss the possible benefits and side effects of the medication they are being prescribed.
The doctors at Regency Hospitals can help you through the process of treatment with utmost care and accuracy and make sure you get the right medication with the least side effects.