Friday, January 19, 2018

Epilepsy: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

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Category: Epilepsy

Epilepsy is one of the world’s most common disabling neurological conditions, and it is also one of the most misunderstood. Many people with this neurological disorder often feel stigmatized because of the recurring seizures that can accompany this disease.

Epilepsy is a term used to define a family of seizure disorders. A person with recurring unprovoked seizures is usually diagnosed with epilepsy.

More than 2.5 million Americans have this neurological condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of cognitive and physical functions. A seizure occurs when a brief, strong surge of electrical activity affects part or all of the brain. They can last a few seconds to a few minutes, and can range from convulsions and loss of consciousness to symptoms that are not always recognized, such as blank staring, lip smacking or jerking movements of arms and legs.

Below, Dr. Amit Verma, director of neurophysiology at the Methodist Neurological Institute, provides answers to some common questions about epilepsy, treatment options and educating the public.

Epilepsy Causes

In children, the causes could include birth defects, illnesses (such as meningitis) or head injuries. In adult epilepsy patients, the causes may range from head trauma to brain tumors to genetics. The majority of epilepsy patients are either under the age of 20 or over 55.

Epilepsy Treatments

Most epilepsy patients take anticonvulsant medication to control the seizures. Patients who do not respond well to the medical treatment may qualify for surgery to remove the portion of the brain causing the seizures, primarily the temporal lobe.

When people first hear about surgery, they worry about losing memory or speech. With proven and improved neurosurgical techniques and advanced surgical technologies, neurosurgeons that specialize in epilepsy ensure they safely remove only the affected area. Another option for certain epilepsy patients is to implant a vagus nerve stimulator (VNS), which is like a pacemaker for the brain. The VNS sends short bursts of electrical energy to the brain via the vagus nerve, located in the neck.

Why is There a Stigma Associated with Epilepsy?

Before seeking treatment, many epilepsy patients will change their lifestyles to accommodate the seizures. They are afraid and embarrassed to go in public because the seizures might scare people. They often have difficulty finding or keeping jobs and maintaining relationships. Driving regulations prohibit patients with epilepsy from driving. On the flip side, people who do not understand the disease are scared of the unknown.

What to Do If Someone is Having an Epileptic Seizure

If someone is having a convulsion, the best help is to support the head and let the person have the seizure. Do not try to put anything in their mouth. If the patient is alone and no history is available, if the seizure lasts longer than a few minutes, or if the seizure is different from the norm then call 911.

Source: The Methodist Neurological Institute, Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas


5 Responses to “Epilepsy: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments”
  1. veronica says:

    Hi i have epilepsy and i just came out of surgery i had they opened put cables monitored for a wile and find out that it was to risky to removed because it was place next to my face and i could get paralized so they decided to change my meds but t still have seizures that was a week ago 03/04/08
    I’m 23 yeas old and my first baby was 2 yeas ago soon my son was born and never had it before nobody in the family has it and the doc said that it wasn’t because my baby was born .
    I would like to know if i have hope something else, acupuncture, herbals, i don’t know…
    Please let me know if u know something that i can do.
    Thank You

  2. PM says:

    Hello, one of my friends has epilepsy. I don’t know what to do a tfirst,and whether he has to be taken to the hospital each time he suffer or not. Please answer this question briefly.

    Thank you.

  3. KAM says:

    hello, one of my friends has had a case of seizing so the docs are saying they should wait until he has another one. i’m really upset but if he has another one what can i do? Do i just call the ambulance?

  4. Laires says:

    Hi, there. I study to be a doctor and I would like to congratulate you because of your site. Through the contents of it my teacher and I could learn a lot about this kind of disease and apply this knowledge in my medical course at University.

  5. Joseph says:

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    She studies Medicine to become a doctor. It is a fantastic opportunity to get to know the real practice reading real pages.

    Thank you very much. Very good site!!!