Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain in which nerve cell activity is disturbed.
Recurring episodes of search disturbances lead to loss of consciousness or convulsions.
Epilepsy affects people of all ages and is the fourth most common neurological disorder found in the world.
Epilepsy is a chronic disorder and gets diagnosed when a person gets 2 unprovoked seizures that are not related to a reversible medical condition like withdrawal from alcohol or low blood sugar.
Having such seizures can affect a person’s relationships and is also a safety concern while driving.
If an adult who is above 18 years of age said to have active epilepsy if he has a history of diagnosed epilepsy, takes regular medications to control it has had one or more seizures in the past one year.
A child who is 17 years or younger is said to have active epilepsy if the doctor has ever informed their parents of having a condition of epilepsy or he currently has seizure disorders.
In the US alone there are 3.4 million people with epilepsy of which around 3 million are adults and 470000 at children.
Types of seizures
Seizures are of two types – generalized and focal.
Generalized seizures affect both sides of the brain whereas focal seizures affect only one side of the brain.
Absence seizures are a form of generalized seizures that can cause rapid blinking for a few seconds of staring at nothing.
Another type of generalized seizures is tonic-clonic seizures and can make a person cry out loud, lose consciousness get muscle jerks or spasms when the person can even fall on the ground.
Focal seizures are further classified into simple seizures, Complex focal seizures and secondary generalized seizures.
Simple focal seizures can cause twitching or change in sensation. The change in sensation could be in taste or smell.
Complex focal seizures make a person where he is not able to respond to questions or is unable to identify directions for a few minutes.
Secondary generalized seizures start in one part of the brain and then spread to the other part as well.
Living with epilepsy can hinder a healthy lifestyle especially when seizures keep happening. A person might find it difficult to go to the work or school or drive and is often unable to take part in social activities.
Uncontrolled seizures keep a person at risk of an injury, depression, anxiety, and even death.
Epilepsy is treated by giving medicines. To keep a check on seizures, it is important to religiously take the medicines as prescribed, get enough sleep, avoid unwanted stress and take safety measures while exercising.
Epilepsy can be prevented by getting immunizations that prevent infections leading to epilepsy. Eating well, exercising and not smoking reduces the risks of show and heart disease that me otherwise Trigger epilepsy.
Preventing traumatic brain injuries like accidents and falls also avoids epilepsy.