Epilepsy causes a recurrent, sudden rush of electrical activity in the brain – seizures. This condition affects 65 million people worldwide and educating the population is important to remove stigmas surrounding those with Epilepsy.
What Causes Epilepsy?
Epilepsy can be developed at any age, young or old. The condition can potentially be inherited although this is very slim. In fact, the chances of developing Epilepsy before the age of 20 are only 1% and if one of your parents has Epilepsy then this risk is just slightly elevated to a 2% chance. More often, Epilepsy is brought on by traumatic events that have led to some sort of damage to the brain such as:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Brain tumor or cyst
- Maternal drug use
- Lack of oxygen at birth
Symptoms of Epilepsy and Epileptic Seizures
There are two main categories of seizures; generalized and focal. A generalized seizure affects the whole brain, while a focal seizure affects one certain part. Seizures come in different levels with a variety of physical and cognitive symptoms.
Absence seizures – blank stare, repetitive movements, and short loss of awareness
Tonic seizures – muscle stiffness
Atonic seizures – loss of muscle control
Clonic seizures – sudden muscle movements of the face, neck, and arms
Myoclonic seizures – random, fast twitching of the arms and legs
Tonic-clonic seizures – stiffness of the body, shaking, loss of bladder or bowel control, and unconsciousness
Simple partial seizures – alteration of senses, dizziness, and twitching of limbs
Complex partial seizures – unconsciousness, unresponsive, and staring blankly
What Can Trigger a Seizure?
Everyone is different, and different stimuli may trigger seizures for various individuals. A way to figure out what triggers you is to keep a journal and document everything thing about what you were doing at the time of a seizure and the happenings leading up to the event. Some common reported triggers are:
- Bright or flashing lights
- Skipping meals or overeating
How Epilepsy is Treated
Unfortunately there is no cure for Epilepsy yet, but with the right medication and treatment it can be managed. Medications, neuro-stimulation implants, and even dieting can be effective for treating this condition.
If you suffer from Epilepsy come visit our neurologist, Dr. Myers, as she specializes in seizure disorders and will get you the treatment you need!