Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior. Anyone can develop Epilepsy. It affects both males and females equally across all races/ethnicities, with an estimated occurrence rate of 1-2 out of 1000.
A seizure is when some electrical activity happens in the brain. There are two main types of seizures. Generalized seizures affect the whole brain. Focal, or partial seizures, affect just one part of the brain. A mild seizure is when you have no awareness for a few seconds.
To Diagnose Epilepsy, At least two seizures without a known trigger must happen in 24 hours. People with Epilepsy can experience a wide range in the likelihood of their seizures controlling themselves. Some people may require lifelong treatment but majorly can eventually feel calm from it on their own or through medication or surgery. Some children inherit genes that make them prone to developing more severe forms of Epilepsy, such as infantile spasms that need constant care due to their seriousness.
Symptoms of Epilepsy
Seizures are the main symptom of Epilepsy, and seizures can affect any process your brain coordinates. Signs of the Seizures include :
- Psychological symptoms like fear, anxiety, etc.
- Confusion & Loss of Awareness & Consciousness.
- Arms & legs Jerking.
- Stiff Muscles.
Symptoms differ from person to person and according to the type of seizure.
A seizure is when the brain sends out sudden, uncontrolled electrical signals. Focal seizures happen in only one area of the brain, while generalized seizures happen in two or more brain areas. In focal seizures, you can tell what part of the brain is affected by your body during it. For example, when a seizure happens on your left side, it will affect your right side and vice versa if it’s on your right side. A Simple Partial Seizure doesn’t cause any loss of consciousness.
Some Common Symptoms of Focal Seizures are –
- Tingling or other unusual feelings on one side of the body
- alterations in the sense of taste, smell, sight, hearing, or touch
- Arms and Legs are Jerking on one side.
- Head or eyes are turning on one side.
A complex partial seizure involves a change or loss of consciousness or awareness. Some Symptoms of complex Seizures are –
- staring blankly
- performing repetitive movements such as hand rubbing, chewing, etc.
Generalized seizures are seizures that appear to involve the whole brain. There are six types of generalized seizures – Absence seizures, previously known as petit mal seizures, are characterized by staring into space with or without subtle body movements such as eye blinking and lip-smacking. They only last between 5-10 seconds but occur 100 times per day, causing a brief loss of awareness.
Tonic seizures are the most common type of Epilepsy. They cause stiff muscles to appear and can affect your consciousness, as well as a loss of words or movement from you during these episodes. These types usually occur in people who have back problems because they need all their strength.
Atonic seizures are the most common type of convulsive seizure. They occur when your brain loses function, and you fall or collapse with no warning signs beforehand; this can happen to anyone at any time for an unknown reason.
Clonic seizures are associated with repeated or rhythmic jerking muscle movements. These usually affect the neck, face, and arms but can also occur in other parts of your body, such as an arm moving outwards towards you (the person experiencing this).
Myoclonic seizures usually affect the upper body, arms, and legs. They can be sudden, brief jerks or twitches that start in one part of your brain and work their way out through unconscious muscle contractions to other parts on a much more rapid timescale than most people realize!
Grand mal seizures, formerly known as tonic-clonic seizures, are the most dramatic form of Epilepsy. They can cause an abrupt loss of consciousness and body stiffening, twitching, or shaking. Some people experience biting their tongue when they’re not aware it’s happening because this type occurs without warning for many people who suffer from them.
Major Causes of Epilepsy
Commonly Epilepsy has no identified root causes, but still, some common causes are seen in half of the population suffering from Epilepsy which is as follows –
- Viral or Parasitic
- Head Trauma
- Genetic Influence from Ancestors.
- Abnormalities in the brain like Tumour, Stroke, etc.
- Development Disorders like autism, etc.
- Prenatal injury.
Final Words about the Epilepsy – Dr. Shailesh Jain
You don’t need to worry, and there are multiple treatments available for Epilepsy like medication, surgery, and even some therapies that might also help. You must go and consult a neurologist or neurosurgeon, especially when the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes or Breathing or consciousness doesn’t return after the seizure stops.