Understanding Epilepsy may help you better understand Non-Epilepsy
Epilepsy is not one single disorder. It is more a term to describe a set of symptoms which may be associated with several neurological disorders. In general, someone with ‘epilepsy’ will suffer from seizures, which themselves vary enormously depending upon the precise nature and manifestation of the initial disorder.
Seizures are caused by large amounts of electrical activity within the brain. Around 50 million people worldwide are epileptic, with more new-onset cases occurring in the very young and very old. People suffering from brain injuries, or recovering from brain surgery may also suffer from epileptic seizures. Seizures themselves can vary from brief slips of attention to full-body convulsions. It is worth noting that having a seizure does not necessarily make one epileptic, as not all seizures are caused by epilepsy.
The prognosis for epilepsy depends upon the cause of it. In general, epilepsy cannot be cured, but it can be controlled through the use of drugs. Many patients find the drugs so successful that they rarely if ever experience a seizure. Others may need to have surgery in order to reduce their seizures. Some patients – particularly if their symptoms manifest in infancy – grow out of epilepsy. For this reason, it is generally inadvisable to operate on a small epileptic child (although this naturally varies depending upon the precise root of the disorder).
Epileptic seizures are usually spontaneous, but some may occur in response to external triggers. ‘Reflex epilepsy’, as it is known, can cause seizures in the event of things like stress, overheating, exhaustion, and even sleep. Some women experience Catamenial epilepsy – which happens due to the female menstrual cycle. Often, epileptic triggers differ in different age groups. Adolescents, for example, are more likely to experience CND or lesion-related seizures, while the elderly may have seizures related to cerebrovascular disease. However, these are not by any means the only causes of epilepsy. Generalized epilepsy is most commonly caused by gene mutations.
There are several types of seizures. One may have partial/focal onset seizures, or distributed generalized seizures. Partial seizures are further categorized as partial or complex partial seizures. These vary from absence (petit mal) seizures to tonic clonic (full-body) seizures. Epilepsy itself comes in four main types, which are themselves further divided into sub-groups based upon the location, nature, andcause of the cerebral seizure activity. Your doctor will be able to explain this more fully.
Seizure sufferers can take heart from the fact that many seizure medications have proven extremely effective, and advances are occurring in the field all the time. Should you know a seizure sufferer, or encounter somebody having a seizure, the best thing that you can do is to remove sharp object from their vicinity, protect their head, and leave them to it. If necessary, roll them onto their side.There is a myth that one must put something in a seizing individual’s mouth to prevent them from biting their tongue – in fact, this often just results in the sufferer breaking their teeth.
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