Epilepsy refers to the condition characterized by repeated seizures caused by abnormal electrical activity bursts in the brain. The seizures cause problems in movement, speech, muscle control, vision, and awareness. Even though they don’t last very long, the seizures can be terrifying not only to the patient but also to the people around him/her.
What Causes Epilepsy?
Doctors cannot pinpoint the direct cause of epilepsy. Often, it occurs after a head injury, brain infection, stroke, or brain tumor.
What are the Symptoms?
The primary symptom of this condition is the repeated seizures that happen without any warning. If not treated, the seizures continue. Often, they become worse and more frequent over time.
Seizures come in different types:
- In some types, the senses do not work properly and can cause strange sounds and smells.
- In another type, the body loses control of the muscles and the person falls down while the body twitches or jerks.
- Yet still in another type, the person loses consciousness and faints.
How is it Diagnosed?
Diagnosis for epilepsy can be difficult since the seizures are the only symptom this condition has. Also, seizures are common symptoms of other different medical conditions. To diagnose epilepsy, a doctor evaluates the patient by asking questions about the seizures. Medical examinations such as EEG will also be done.
How is it Treated?
Medications will be prescribed by the doctor to control the seizures. The doctor will try various medications and this usually takes time before he/she can discover the right combination, dosage, and schedule most effective for a patient to manage this condition. The primary goal of the treatment is to prevent seizures as well as to cause the least side effects possible. It is very important that a patient takes the medicine exactly as it was prescribed. Keeping the right amount of the medicine in the body is the best way to prevent seizures.
If the medication is not enough, the doctor may consider other forms of treatment. One option would be surgery to remove the damaged area in the brain tissue where the seizures start.
- Ketogenic Diet
Another is a special diet called ketogenic diet, which involves less fat and less carbohydrates. This diet has been proven effective in preventing seizures among children who have epilepsy.
- Vagus Nerve Simulator
There’s also a device called vagus nerve simulator that is implanted by the doctor under the skin near the collarbone. This device sends weak signals to the vagus nerve in the neck and to the brain to reduce and control seizures.
How will it Affect My Life?
The answer to this question depends on the person. Some people have fewer seizures than others. Some people have stronger personalities and more positive outlook that enable them to manage the condition more effectively. It’s a must that you equip yourself with sufficient knowledge about your condition so you can have an easier time controlling it.
For example, you need to discover the triggers of your seizures so you can do your best to avoid them. For example, if you’re more prone to seizures when you’re stressed, it’s a must for you to learn stress reduction techniques apart from carefully following the treatment prescribed by your doctor.