What is Epilepsy? Epilepsy is an actually a group of neurological disorders which is characterized by epileptic seizures. Epileptic seizures are episodes that can result in physical injuries including breaking of bones. In epilepsy, seizures can recur and have no immediate underlying cause. Isolated seizures can also be provoked by any specific cause such as poisoning. In this Article, We Will Explain What is Epilepsy? Causes, Signs, Symptoms, and Diagnosis.
What is Epilepsy?
It can occur as the result of brain injury, stroke, brain tumors, infections of the brain and birth defects (epileptogenesis). Genetic mutations may also be a cause. Epilepsy is mainly the result of excessive and abnormal nerve cell activity in the cortex of the brain.
Signs and Symptoms
Muscles becoming weak or limp, muscles becoming tense or rigid, Sustained rhythmical jerking movements, brief muscle twitching or epileptic spasms (body flexes and extends repeatedly). There can also be automatisms or repeated automatic movements like clapping or rubbing of hands, lips macking or chewing or running. Temporary confusion, staring spell, loss of consciousness or awareness, psychic symptoms such as fear, anxiety are also main symptoms of epilepsy.
There are 3 main groups of seizures.
1. Generalized onset seizuresThey affect both sides of the brain or groups of cells on both sides of the brain at the same time. It includes seizures types like tonic, clonic, tonic-clonic, absence, myoclonic, atonic.
2. Focal onset seizures
Focal seizures can start in one area or any group of cells on one side of the brain.
- Focal onset aware seizures: When a person is awake and aware during a seizure, it is called a focal aware seizure. It is also called a simple partial seizure.
- Focal onset impaired awareness: When a person is confused or their awareness is affected in some way during a focal seizure, then it is called a focal impaired awareness seizure. It is also called a complex partial seizure.
3. Unknown onset seizures
When the beginning of a seizure is not known, it is now also called as an unknown onset seizure. A seizure could also be called an unknown onset if it is not witnessed or seen by anyone, for example when seizures happen at night or in a person who lives alone.
Epileptic seizures can be controllable with medication in about 70% of cases. Inexpensive options are also available. If they do not respond to medication, then surgery, neurostimulation, or dietary changes may be taken into consideration. Epilepsy is not compulsorily lifelong in every case and many people improve to the point that treatment is no longer needed.
Epilepsy is more common in older people. In developed countries, the onset of new cases occurs most frequently in small babies and the elderly, but in the developing countries, onset is much more common in older children and young adults, due to differences in the frequency of the causes. About 5–10% of people will have an unprovoked seizure by the age of 80 and the chance of experiencing a second seizure is between 40 and 50%.
There are many risk factors which increase the risk of epilepsy and they are:- age, family history, dementia, brain infections, head trauma or injury, stroke or cardiovascular diseases, seizures in childhood.
Complications Of Epilepsy
Falling, drowning, car accidents, emotional stress, health issues, pregnancy problems, Status Epilepticus, sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). These are life-threatening complications and are very dangerous.
These are the points as mentioned above of what is epilepsy.