Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological disease characterized by seizures.
Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain or central nervous system. It is characterized by seizures, unusual behaviour, sensations and loss of consciousness. Appropriate tests and diagnosis may be required if one has two or more seizures. Seizures during driving or swimming may prove to be fatal. The regular treatments for seizures include medications and surgery.

CAUSES

There is no one established cause for epilepsy. However, it is assumed that epilepsy may occur due to genetic factors, head trauma, brain impairment, infectious diseases, prenatal injuries and developmental disorders. In some a few genes trigger seizures, while in some stroke may be the leading cause of epilepsy. However, a common point is that, epilepsy condition outgrows with the age of the affected.Epilepsy

SYMPTOMS

Prominently, seizures are marked by confusion, staring spell, uncontrollable jerking of legs and hands, loss of consciousness and psychic symptoms.

RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS

The risks and complications of epilepsy are evident as short-term memory loss, poriomania (aimless wandering), violent behaviour, vomiting stomach contents, fractures and shoulder dislocation, Myocardial infarction (heart attack), tongue biting, Pulmonary edema (fluid build-up in the lungs) and status epilepticus (seizures when patient is unconscious). Epilepsy condition may also lead to SUDEP – Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy.

TEST AND DIAGNOSIS

If seizures occur more than once, it is better to consult the neurologist / epilepsy consultant. The doctor may enquire about the symptoms in the affected and recommend for neurological examination and blood tests. The neurological test includes assessment of behavior, motor abilities and mental functions in the affected. Blood tests help the doctor to identify signs of infections and genetic conditions. The doctor may also recommend for Electroencephalogram (EEG) which helps to study the electrical activity of the brain. EEG test is crucial for the right diagnosis of epilepsy as those affected by epilepsy have changes in brain waves even when not having a seizure.

TREATMENT

The regular course of treatment includes anti-epileptic medication and surgery. A proven therapy includes vagus nerve stimulation (vagus nerve stimulator implanted under the skin of the chest). Ketogenic diet which helps to reduce seizures in children. The affected are advised to take ketogenic diet, where fats are broken down instead of carbohydrates for energy.