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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Epilepsy: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments - How to Prevent Epileptic Seizures

Epilepsy and Seizures
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder. Seizures are the main symptoms of epilepsy disorder.

Epilepsy: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments - How to Prevent Epileptic Seizures

Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures. In epilepsy disorder, brain activity becomes abnormal. Seizures are the main symptoms of epilepsy. Seizures are due to brief disturbances in the electrical functions of the brain. Epileptic seizures are episodes that can range from brief and almost undesirable periods to prolonged vigorous tremors. These episodes can lead to sensations, periods of unusual behavior, and sometimes loss of awareness and physical injuries such as broken bones. 

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that causes recurrent, unprovoked seizures. Epilepsy is defined as a chronic disease that affects the brain and is caused by two or more unexplained seizures that cause a direct surge of electricity in the brain.
Seizures can be defined as hyper-synchronous disorders of nerve signals emitted by the nerves of the brain, causing disorders in the affected area. This, in turn, causes disruption to all functions controlled by the affected area, such as behavior, sensation, movement, language, standing position, awareness and perception, and much more. It should be noted that there are different types of seizures and convulsions, but they share the fact that they are short-lived, often lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes. Usually, the brain returns to normal functions after a seizure.  Some people may suffer from problems such as confusion or fatigue and general fatigue after the end of the seizure for a limited period. However, these symptoms often disappear after a while and the body returns to normal. It is worth noting that episodes of seizures do not necessarily mean epilepsy, but suffering from epilepsy means an increased risk of seizures in the future.

Symptoms of Epilepsy

Seizures are the main symptoms of epilepsy. Epilepsy is caused by irregular brain cell activity, so epileptic seizures can cause damage to any work done by the body and coordinated by the brain. An epileptic seizure may cause temporary confusion, complete loss of consciousness, staring in space or involuntary shivering movements of the hands and legs. In most cases, if a person has frequent epileptic seizures, they tend to develop the same signs and symptoms in each seizure, so that the signs associated with an epileptic seizure become identical from one seizure to another. However, other patients suffer from different types of seizures, whose signs and symptoms vary from time to time. In fact, epileptic seizures and associated symptoms vary according to their type.




Types of Epilepsy
1. Partial Seizures:  also known as focal seizures, they are represented by two main types:

I. Simple partial seizure: This type of epilepsy is not accompanied by loss of consciousness. Symptoms for simple partial epilepsy include dizziness, tingling in the extremities, and a change in taste, smell, sight, hearing, and touch.
II. Complex partial seizures: These seizures cause loss of consciousness, loss of responsiveness, and repetition of certain movements.

2. Generalized seizures. Generalized seizures include the entire brain and have six types that we sum up as follows:

I. Absence seizures: These epileptic seizures cause a slight absence of consciousness, and the patient suffers from the repetition of some movements, such as blinking eyes.
II. Tonic seizures: These epileptic seizures cause muscle stiffness.
III. Atonic seizures: Atonic seizures cause loss of muscle control, which increases the chance of a person suddenly falling.
IV. Clonic seizures: Clonic seizures are characterized by repetitive strange movements in the muscles of the face, neck, and arms.
V. Myoclonic seizures: Myoclonic seizures are characterized by strange, spontaneous, rapid movements in the arms and legs.
VI. Tonic-clonic seizures: Tonic-clonic seizures are symptoms of unconsciousness, biting of the tongue, stiffness of the body, and loss of bladder control and excretion.

Causes of Epilepsy

In fact, there is no specific cause of epilepsy, but it should be noted that the nature of the symptoms and signs that appear on the injured during a seizure depends on the affected part of the brain and the speed and extent of transmission of seizures in the brain. In fact, there are some people with genetic factors that play a role in the onset of the disease. Other factors that increase the chance of epilepsy include:

⇨Some brain health problems, such as tumors and stroke, are a major cause of epilepsy in people over 35 years of age.
⇨The brain is hit, for example during accidents.
⇨Lack of oxygen supply to the brain.
⇨Infectious diseases such as AIDS, viral encephalitis, and meningitis.
⇨Injury or brain damage before birth.
⇨Suffering from severe illness or fever.
Age: People under the age of 20 and those over 65 are more likely to have epilepsy.

Common Epilepsy Seizure Triggers
There are several factors that trigger the onset of epileptic seizures, including:
⇒Lack of sleep and autism.
⇒Exposure to fever or disease.
⇒Exposure to tension, or bright lights.
⇒Take alcohol, caffeine, and some types of medications.
⇒Skip some meals, overeating, or eating certain types of foods.




First Aid for Epilepsy Patients
It is advised to follow some things to help people with seizures, especially tonic-clonic seizures accompanied by shivering movements. These tips include:

Control the nerves and try to calm down.
Remove all things or objects that may be harmful around the victim, and avoid touching or approaching the victim.
Talk to the patient calmly and carefully to keep him away from any danger surrounding him.
Support the head of the victim with a soft pillow if it falls to the ground.
Do not put anything in the mouth of the injured.
Monitor the time, and if the seizure does not end within five minutes, you should call emergency and seek medical assistance.
Ensure breathing is safe, and the mouth is free from any suspended substances that cause lightning such as food, tooth, etc.. If the patient has a strange or disturbing voice, seek medical help.
Provide support for the injured and stay with him for a period of time after the end of the seizure.

Treatment of epilepsy

Treatment is carried out using a range of medications and drugs that act as anti-epileptic seizures. If the patient has more than one type of epilepsy, he is given several types of medications with specific amounts and times. If the person has recurrent and persistent epileptic seizures, the doctor recommends here brain surgery. The epilepsy treatment plan depends on the severity of the symptoms, the health of the victim, and the extent of the patient's response to the treatment. Some of the treatment options available for epilepsy can be described as follows:

Anti-epileptic drugs: Anti-epileptic drugs reduce the number of seizures that occur to the patient and may eliminate them completely in some cases. These drugs depend on the type of epilepsy, the age of the patient, and other factors. The following are common drugs used in the treatment of epilepsy:
  • Carbamazepine
  • Valproic acid
  • Ethosuximide
  • Topiramate
It should be noted that these medicines should be taken exactly as prescribed by the doctor.

Vagus nerve stimulator: Vagus nerve stimulator can place a device (this device resembles a pacemaker) under the skin in the chest area to stimulate the nerve that passes through the neck, reducing the incidence of seizures.


Brain surgery: The area responsible for epileptic seizures in the brain is removed or replaced. When medications fail to control seizures, however, some patients may need to continue taking certain medications, but at lower doses, as the surgeon during epilepsy surgery, removes the brain area that causes seizures. Doctors do this when the area of the brain where the surgery will be performed does not cause any effect on other vital functions such as vision and hearing, and also if convulsions occur in a small area which can be identified in the brain.

Follow the ketogenic diet: Many people who do not respond to drug therapy, have been found to benefit from this high-fat, low-carb diet.




How to Prevent Epileptic Seizures

There are some guidelines that can reduce and prevent the chance of epilepsy, including:
Prevent traumatic brain injury: Traumatic brain injuries are common causes of epilepsy and can be prevented by the following safety guidelines, wearing a seat belt, wearing a helmet, and other instructions, especially when driving.
Reduce the chances of stroke and heart disease:  Stroke and heart disease can be reduced by proper diet, exercise, and smoking cessation. These healthy habits can also reduce the chance of epilepsy in the future.
Have a vaccination: Some infections contribute to an increased risk of epilepsy, so have an appropriate vaccination to reduce infectious disease.
Wash your hands and prepare food properly: Cysticercosis is one of the leading causes of epilepsy and can be prevented by following hygiene and food preparation guidelines.
Maintain health during pregnancy: There are many health problems during pregnancy and childbirth that can lead to epilepsy. Maintaining health is necessary during this period.
Epileptic seizures can also be minimized by the following tips:

➮Abstain from alcohol and drugs.
➮Relax and control tension and depression.
➮Make sure you get enough sleep every day.
➮Commit to taking prescribed medications for epilepsy regularly.
➮Minimize sitting times in front of your TV or computer screen as much as possible.
➮Avoid strong lighting and visual stimuli.
➮Avoid video games.
➮Take vitamin D and exercise to maintain bone strength and prevent fractures.

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