Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that happens when your brain activity is not normal. This means that you experience unprovoked seizures or moments of unusual behavior. There are still no accurate studies that can tell the main cause of epilepsy but it can be linked to a brain injury.
Usually, people who are diagnosed with this ailment have two unprovoked seizures, meaning that it is not related to medical conditions such as low blood sugar or alcohol withdrawal.
Furthermore, seizure attacks can be harmful to a person’s safety, his work, and even his relationships. Although the seizures can be controlled, it might take a lifelong treatment to fight epilepsy. In this article, learn more about epilepsy by discovering its causes, symptoms, and possible treatment.
Before you can get to epilepsy, it is important to know what seizures are. Seizures are abnormal behavior or movements caused by an unusual electrical activity in your brain. Take note that not all seizures are connected with epilepsy although it is the main symptom of the said illness. There are two seizure types: non-epileptic and provoked.
Non-epileptic seizures are also called pseudoseizures. This type of seizure is caused by stress or psychological issues. Diagnosis in this type of seizure is difficult because it looks like a real seizure. Since there can be instances when normal EEG readings might mistake pseudoseizures as real seizures, it is better to ask for a second advice. More than those, non-epileptic seizures are treated with psychiatric medications and psychotherapy.
On the contrary, provoked seizures come from drug abuse, trauma, and low blood sodium, to name a few. These are usually single seizures that can occur during early childhood. Unlike non-epileptic seizures, provoked seizures might not need treatment if there is no risk of recurrence.
But how will you know if you have epilepsy? Once the seizure is diagnosed as a symptom, it is then linked to epilepsy.
Another question that might pop your head now is: What causes seizures? Seizures happen when the brain cell’s communications are disrupted. Usually, it is because of the following:
- Lack of sleep
- Low blood sodium
- Medications that lower down the seizure threshold
- High fever
- Brain tumor
- Head trauma
- Alcohol abuse
- Illegal drugs
You will know that you are experiencing a seizure when you have uncontrollable movements in your legs and arms. Other seizure symptoms are temporary confusion, staring spell, and loss of consciousness. When these signs show up, there is a chance that you are experiencing epilepsy as well.
Since both seizures and epilepsy are connected, it is important that you take note of epilepsy’s causes to avoid seizures. Here are the possible causes of this ailment:
- Post-traumatic epilepsy
- Traumatic brain injury
- High fever
- Lack of oxygen in the brain
- Vascular diseases
- Brain tumor
- Infectious diseases
- Developmental disorders
- Maternal drug use
Unfortunately, these possible causes are hard to avoid. The only way you can save yourself, besides treating epilepsy, is to make sure that you will not be able to trigger seizures.
Each person with epilepsy has a different seizure trigger. It can be from not taking medication, alcohol, or even lack of sleep. Since these triggers vary, make sure that consult with your doctor to avoid these.
There are some people who can manage the illness. Others, on the other hand, are required to get treatment. Below are the treatments for epilepsy:
Drugs cannot cure epilepsy, although it can control the seizures. The most common medications that are prescribed to people with epilepsy are the following:
- Brivaracetam (Briviact)
- Carbamazepine (Carbatrol or Tegretol)
- Diazepam (Valium )
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Clonazepam ( Klonopin )
- Eslicarbazepine (Aptiom)
- Ethosuximide (Zarontin)
- Felbamate (Felbatol)
- Lacosamide (VIMPAT)
Take note that these have side effects such as drowsiness, vomiting and, rash, to name a few.
This is why make sure that you consult with your doctor first before purchasing any drugs.
Before trying this treatment, it is safe to check with your doctor first. This diet is rich in fats and low in carbohydrates. This solution is usually given to children, but it can also work with adults. Just like drug therapy, a ketonic diet has side effects as well, such as the following:
- High cholesterol
- Kidney stones
- Broken bones
- Weight gain
There are two times of nerve stimulation. Choosing which one is the best for you will depend on your condition.
- Responsive neurostimulation: This type of stimulation uses a special tool called the neurostimulator. The doctor will place this gadget in your scalp to check for patterns in your brain that could lead to seizures.
- Vagus nerve stimulation: It uses a small machine called the vagus nerve stimulator. The doctor will place the tool under the skin of your chest that will send electricity to the vagus nerve. This nerve is connected to your chest, abdomen, up to your brain.
There are two types of surgeries offered to those who have epilepsy. Learn more about these below.
- Disconnective surgery. This process removes the paths in your nerves that are somehow connected to your seizures.
- Resective surgery. This process removes a small part in your brain to stop seizures from recurring.
Epilepsy is a disorder connected to your brain. When you have this ailment, you are prone to experiencing seizures that can affect your work and relationships with other people. Research shows that this sickness is caused by various factors including stroke, dementia, and brain tumor. These causes might be difficult to avoid which is why the recommended thing that you can do now is to avoid having seizures.
Getting treatment for epilepsy will depend on the results that the doctor will find from your ailment. It can be through drug therapy, ketonic diet, nerve stimulation, or surgery. Take note, though, that it is not advisable to self-medicate. You must also seek your doctor’s approval before doing any of the aforementioned treatments.