Epilepsy is a chronic central nervous system disorder in which the clusters of neurons in the brain behave irregularly or are disrupted and causing periods of a strange sensation, Seizures, abnormal behavior and sometimes loss of consciousness or awareness. The central nervous system is the part of the nervous system that comprises the brain, brainstem and the spinal cord.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is characterized by recurring seizures and a quick rush of electrical activity in the brain is called a seizure. People with epilepsy also suffer from some major psychological disorder such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. An uncontrolled and extended seizure can lead to brain damage. Symptoms experienced during epilepsy depends on the part of the brain affected. Epilepsy affects both male and female of all ages. However, it is more common in young children under 2 years of age and older adults.
People with epilepsy are 11 times more likely to have premature death than the rest of the population. Overall, about 1% of epileptic patient die of sudden unexpected death. Epilepsy affects around 70 million people worldwide.
Head Trauma resulting from an accident or other traumatic damage can cause epilepsy. Infectious diseases such as AIDS, meningitis can also cause epilepsy. Stroke is the leading cause of epilepsy in people older than 35 years is a stroke. Serious illness or a very high fever, Lack of oxygen to the brain, Some inherited genetic factor can make some people prone to epilepsy and a brain injury that occurs before birth. This could be as a result of Infection in the mother, poor nutrition or Deficiency of Oxygen. Some developmental disorder such as autism or neurofibromatosis can also be a major cause of epilepsy. Scarring on the brain after a brain injury, Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
The most common symptom of epilepsy is a seizure and differ from person to person according to the type of seizure. Doctor classify seizure as either focal (Partial) and generalized.
In diagnosing epilepsy, the following procedure may be carried out:
A blood test to check the level of the Glucose, liver, Kidney functions and signs of Infectious diseases.
Brain Scans which may help to find the cause of your seizures. The two common ones are Computerized Axial Tomography (CT scan), and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). The scan shows pictures of the brain. A CT scan uses an x-ray to acquire the cross-sectional images of the brain and can reveal abnormalities in the brain that might be causing the seizures and the MRI uses powerful radio and magnets wave to create a thorough view of the brain. Abnormalities that causes the seizure can then be detected.
Position Emission therapy that visualizes the active area of the brain and can detect abnormalities. In this procedure, a small amount of low-dose radioactive substance is injected into the brain.
Electroencephalogram (EEG): This is the most common procedure used in diagnosing epilepsy. In this kind of procedure. A paste-like substance is used in attaching electrodes to your scalp. The electrodes measure the electrical activity of your brain and changes in the normal pattern of brain waves are common in people with epilepsy even when not under the influence of seizure.
In cases where MRI and EEG do not pinpoint the location in the brain where the seizure is occurring a SPECT (Single-photon emission computerized tomography) test may be recommended. This procedure shows the 3D map of the blood flow activity in the brain during a Seizure.
In treating epilepsy, medication is the first approach. In case if medications don’t treat the condition, surgery or another type of treatment may be proposed. The first line of medication is the antiseizure medication that helps reduce the severity and frequency of seizure. Depending on the type of seizure you are experiencing, your doctor may prescribe a single drug or combination of drugs. Some epilepsy drugs include
Side effects of the antiseizure drug include Fatigue, Memory problem, Skin rash.
When medications fail to provide control over seizures, surgery may be an option. Resection is the most common surgical procedure carried out. This involves removing the part of the brain that is causing the seizure. The surgery can only be performed when the test shows that the seizure originates from a small, well-defined area of your brain and vital functions such as speech, motor function, vision, and hearing will not be affected by such surgical procedure. The dietary recommendation is best for children suffering from epilepsy. The Ketogenic diet is mostly implemented. This involves following a strict diet that is high in fats and low in carbohydrates and is said to be able to reduce seizure in children. In following this diet, a dietician should be consulted.