What is Epilepsy?
It is a central nervous system disorder (neurological disorder) wherein the nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed. Epilepsy causes recurring seizures in the affected persons, who may have strange sensations and emotions or behave strangely.
What causes Epilepsy?
Though there may be no identifiable cause, it can be due to a medical condition or injury affecting the brain.
Some common causes:
- Dementia (Alzheimer’s)
- Traumatic brain injury
- Infections (brain abscess, meningitis, encephalitis, AIDS)
- Congenital brain defects
- Brain injury (caused during or near birth)
- Brain tumour
- Abnormal blood vessels in the brain
- Other illness that damage or destroy brain tissue
- Certain medications (antidepressants)
What are its signs and symptoms?
Although symptoms may differ from person to person, some include:
- Staring spells
- Violent shaking or loss of alertness
- Tingling sensation
- Smelling a non-existent odour
- Emotional changes
Any complications associated with Epilepsy?
Some possible complications:
- Learning difficulties
- Taking food or saliva into the lungs during a seizure that can lead to pneumonia
- Injury from falls, bumps, driving or operating machinery during a seizure
- Self-inflicted bites
- Permanent brain damage
- Side effects of medications
Any preventive measures?
There is no known way to prevent epilepsy. But proper diet and adequate sleep as well as abstaining from alcohol minimise the likelihood of triggering seizures in persons with epilepsy.
How is Epilepsy treated?
The treatment may involve:
- Medications: To prevent seizures or reduce their number and frequency.
- Surgical intervention: If seizures aredue to a tumour, abnormal blood vessels, or bleeding in the brain, surgical intervention to treat these disorders may stop the seizures.
- Low carb diet: Children may be placed on a special diet to help prevent seizures. A low carbohydrate diet may also be helpful for some adults.
- Lifestyle modification: Lifestyle or medical precautions can lower the risk of seizures in persons with epilepsy.