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Epilepsy – A brain disorder

Apr 04, 2017

Epilepsy – A brain disorder

Every 1 in 100 people is estimated to be affected with epilepsy. It is a serious disorder of the brain where neurons, sometimes, sends abnormal impulses causing the brain and body to respond in an unexpected way known as seizure. The kind of seizures which are originated from one part of the brain are called partial seizures, while on the other hand, the seizures which are caused due to the entire brain being affected are called generalized seizures. Also, another type of seizure where it originates as a partial seizure but spreads to both halves of the brain is called secondary generalized seizure.

Epilepsy may develop at any age, though in most cases, early signs are found to be visible from childhood. Few symptoms of epilepsy include frequent blackouts, sudden stiffness of muscles, violent jerking of the body, confused memory, inability to communicate for a short period, unexpected panicking etc. It should be noted that few symptoms like sleep disorder, narcolepsy, panic attacks, fainting etc., which are often misunderstood as epilepsy are not necessarily signs of epilepsy.

Family history, brain damage or brain defect are the causes usually associated with epilepsy. Once diagnosed, the doctor usually categorizes the disease into three broad types for further treatment. The categories being, idiopathic where no cause could be found out, cryptogenic, where few causes are apparent but the exact cause is still unknown and symptomatic where the exact cause is known. Though epilepsy cannot be completely cured, as a part of treatment, efforts are put to control the seizures with no or minimum side effects. Treatment procedures include medication varying with the kind of seizure, the patient frequently experiences. In some cases, surgery or procedures like vagus nerve stimulation is administered where the patient is provided with a pacemaker like device which sends regular, mild impulses to the brain to effectively control seizures. Though different treatment methods have been identified, the fact that a person suffering from epilepsy is 11 times more likely to have a premature death makes it a serious matter of concern and calls for further research.

Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.

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