What Are The Causes, Symptoms And Diagnosis Of Epilepsy ?

Epilepsy is a chronic disorder that results in recurrent seizures. A seizure in medical terms is referred to as a rush of electrical activity in the brain. There are two types of seizures:

  • Generalized: affect the whole brain
  • Focal or partial: affect one part of the brain

Mild seizures can be difficult to realize. They may last for a few seconds of which you might not be aware.

Strong seizures can result in spasms and muscle twitches which can last for a few seconds to several minutes. During a strong seizure, a person may become confused or become unconscious. After that, you may not remember what happened. 


What Are The Main Causes Of Epilepsy?

Epilepsy can be hereditary. There are about 500 genes that may result in epilepsy. Other causes are as follows:

  • Serious brain injury
  • Serious illness or high fever
  • Stroke, cause of epilepsy above the age of 35
  • Vascular diseases
  • Brain tumor or cyst
  • Lack of oxygen to the brain
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Maternal drug use
  • Lack of oxygen at birth
  • AIDS
  • Meningitis
  • Other neurological diseases  


What Are The Symptoms Of Epilepsy

The main symptom of epilepsy is seizures. A person who is epileptic may face focal or partial seizures every now and then. The symptoms of focal or partial seizures include:

  • Dizziness,
  • The sense of smell, sight, and hearing or touch is affected
  • Tingling or twitching of limbs

Complex partial seizures may involve unconsciousness. These include:

  • Staring blankly
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Doing repetitive movements uncontrollably 


Triggers Of Epileptic Seizures

There might be some things that trigger the seizures. These include:

  • Illness, or fever
  • Lack of sleep
  • Stress
  • Bright light, flashing lights
  • Caffeine, alcohol, certain medications, or drugs
  • Skipping meals and overeating
  • Specific meal ingredients

Identifying what triggers the seizures may not be an easy task. There are often combinations of things that trigger a seizure. 


Diagnosis Of Epilepsy

If you recently had a seizure or have it more often, consult your doctor. He might run a few tests to know your condition. Your doctor will have a complete blood count and chemistry of the blood done in order to foresee your condition. EEG (Electroencephalogram) is the test that is commonly used to diagnose epilepsy. 


Treatment Of Epilepsy

Treatment of epilepsy is done by a neurologist or a general physician. Treatment options include:

  • Vagus nerve stimulator: This is a device that is placed surgically under the skin on the chest. This can prevent the occurrence of seizures.
  • Anti-seizure, anticonvulsant drugs: These medications should be taken exactly as the doctor prescribes to reduce and sometimes completely eliminate seizures.
  • Diet: Many people who do not respond to medications benefit from high fat and low carbohydrate diet.
  • Brain surgery: The part of the brain which causes seizure-like a tumor or cyst may be removed surgically or can be altered surgically.

Research is still being carried out on the treatment of epilepsy. A treatment that is available in some countries has proven to be very successful. This is called deep brain stimulation.