INTRODUCTION• Epilepsy is a neurological condition, which affects the nervous system. Epilepsy is also known as a seizure disorder. It is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures that were not caused by some known medical condition like alcohol withdrawal or extremely low blood sugar. According to the International League Against Epilepsy, epilepsy can be diagnosed after one seizure, if a person has a condition that places them at high risk for having another.• The seizures in epilepsy may be related to a brain injury or a family tendency, but most of the time the cause is unknown. The word "epilepsy" does not indicate anything about the cause of the persons seizures, what type they are, or how severe they are.
CAUSE OF EPILEPSYThere is a fine balance in thebrain between factors thatbegin electrical activity andfactors that restrict it, and thereare also systems that limit thespread of electrical activity.During a seizure, these limitsbreak down, and abnormalelectrical discharges can occurand spread to whole groups ofneighboring cells at once. Thislinkage of electrical dischargescreates a "storm" of electricalactivity in the brain. This is aseizure. When a person has hadat least two of these seizures,thats called epilepsy.
VICTIMS OF EPILEPSYEpilepsy can develop in anyperson at any age. 0.5% to 2%of people will developepilepsy during their lifetime.People with certain conditionsmay be at greater risk. About2.7 million Americans havebeen treated for epilepsy inthe past 5 years. Thats 8 or 9out of every 1,000 people. Inother words, out of 60,000people filling a bigstadium, about 500 haveepilepsy. More men thanwomen have epilepsy .
THE TIME PEOPLE AREMOST LIKELY TO GETEPILEPSYNew cases of epilepsy aremost common amongchildren, especially duringthe first year of life. The rateof new cases graduallydeclines until about age10, and then becomes stable.After age 55 or 60, the ratestarts to increase, as peopledevelop strokes, braintumors, or Alzheimersdisease. (All of thesedisorders can cause epilepsy.)
FACTS ABOUT EPILEPSY• Up to 5% of the world’s population may have a single seizure at some time in their lives.• It is likely that around 60 million people in the world have epilepsy at any one time.• Children and adolescents are more likely to have epilepsy of unknown or genetic origin than adults.• Epilepsy can start at any age.• Recent studies show that seizures in up to 70% of children and adults with newly diagnosed epilepsy can be controlled with medications; however, many of these people experience treatment-related side effects.• Seizures in up to 30% of people with epilepsy do not respond to available medications.
THE START OF EPILEPSY• The reasons why epilepsy begins are different for people of different ages. But whats true for every age is that the cause is unknown for about half of everyone with epilepsy.• Children may be born with a defect in the structure of their brain, or they may suffer a head injury or infection that causes their epilepsy. Severe head injury is the most common known cause in young adults. In middle age, strokes, tumors, and injuries are more frequent. In people over 65, stroke is the most common known cause, followed by degenerative conditions such as Alzheimers disease.The reason why it sometimes take years before someone with a braininjury experiences a seizure• Often seizures do not begin immediately after a person has an injury to the brain. Instead, a seizure may happen many months later. We do not have a good explanation for this common observation, but scientists are actively researching this subject
EPILEPSY- INHERITEDOR NOTIt may seem obvious thatheredity (genetics) plays animportant role in many cases ofepilepsy in very young children,but it can be a factor for peopleof any age. For instance, noteveryone who has a serious headinjury (a clear cause of seizures)will develop epilepsy. Those whodo develop epilepsy are morelikely to have a history of seizuresin their family. This family historysuggests that it is easier for themto develop epilepsy than forothers with no geneticpredisposition.
TYPES OF EPILEPSY Epilepsy syndromes are defined by a cluster• When a disorder is defined by of features. These features may include : a characteristic group of • The type or types of seizures features that usually occur together, it is called a • The age at which the seizures begin syndrome. These features • The causes of the seizures may include symptoms, which • Whether the seizures are inherited are problems that the patient • The part of the brain involved will notice. They also may include signs, which are • Factors that provoke seizures things that the doctor will • How severe and how frequent the seizures are find during the examination • A pattern of seizures by time of day or with laboratory tests. • Certain patterns on the EEG, during seizures Doctors and other health care and between seizures professionals often use • Other disorders in addition to seizures syndromes to describe a patients epilepsy. • The prospects for recovery or worsening
*Not every syndrome will be defined by all these features, but mostsyndromes will be defined by a number of them. Classifying a patientsepilepsy as belonging to a certain syndrome often provides informationon what medications or other treatments will be most helpful. It alsomay help the doctor to predict whether the seizures will go intoremission (lessen or disappear).*CONTINUATION TO TYPES OF EPILEPSY
SLEEP AND EPILEPSY• We all know that we think more clearly, react more quickly, and generally perform better after a good nights sleep. And while a good night’s sleep plays a key role in the overall well-being and health of all people it is even more vital in people with epilepsy. One reason why is because a lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep can in turn increase frequency of seizures. The reasons why sleep deprivation provokes seizures are unclear. However, what we do know is that the sleep-wake cycle is associated with prominent changes in brain electrical activity, so seizures and the sleep-wake cycle are often clearly related. We also know that most types of seizures are affected by sleep, although the degree varies greatly from type to type and patient to patient. Further, there are hormonal changes during sleep that could possibly be related to seizures. Finally, the effects of seizures and seizure medicines on the quality of your sleep can make the relationship even more complicated.
EPILEPSY MEDICATIONSMedicines to prevent epileptic seizuresare called antiepileptic.Taking only one antiepileptic medicineprevents seizures in up to 7 out of 10people who have partial seizures. About 8out of 10 people have complete seizurecontrol when they take more than oneantiepileptic medicine.2 Although manypeople experience side effects, medicineis still the best way to prevent epilepticseizures. The benefits of treatment withmedicine usually outweigh thedrawbacks.There are many antiepileptic medicines(called AEDs, anticonvulsants, or anti-seizure medicines). But they do not alltreat the same types of seizures. The firststep your doctor takes in choosing amedicine to treat your seizures is toidentify the types of seizures you have.
Although epilepsy is a condition that causes repeated seizures, it isquiet common. Seizures may cause problems with musclecontrol, movement, speech, vision, or awareness. They usually dont lastvery long, but they can be scary. The good news is that with the help ofour advanced treatment, we can control and reduce seizures.