Understanding the Early Signs of Epilepsy
Epilepsy falls in the category of a long-term brain condition. A person suffering from epilepsy experiences repeated seizures. In ordinary language, we call them fits. Seizures are uncontrollable. These are like bursts of electrical activity that change sensations, behaviors, awareness, and muscle movements. Although it is impossible to top cure epilepsy completely, it is still manageable with specific treatments. In most cases, it is treated with medicines and lifestyle changes.
Signs and symptoms of epilepsy
One of the prominent symptoms of epilepsy is seizures. These are abrupt and shocking. And every time, its intensity changes. Also, the symptoms vary from person to person and depend on the particular type of seizure. Let’s see its types in detail.
According to Marham doctors, when an abnormal activity occurs in some part of the brain, epilepsy appears. They are termed focal seizures. There are two types of these seizures:
- Seizures with no loss of consciousness. These seizures are formerly known as simple partial seizures. They do not result in loss of consciousness. They could affect feelings or change how things appear, smell, feel, taste, or sound. Some people have déjà vu. This type of seizure may also cause involuntary jerking of a single body part, such as an arm or leg, and spontaneous sensory symptoms, such as tingling, dizziness, and flashing lights.
- Focal seizures with awareness impairment. These seizures are formerly known as complex partial seizures. They involve a change in or loss of consciousness or awareness. Such attacks can make you feel as though you are dreaming. During a focal seizure with impaired cognition, you could stare into space, fail to typically respond to your surroundings, or engage in a repetitive motion. It may include hand rubbing, chewing, swallowing, or walking in circles.
Focal seizure symptoms are sometimes misunderstood as other neurological conditions. These are migraine, narcolepsy, or mental illness. The distinction between epilepsy and other disorders requires a comprehensive examination and a battery of tests.
Generalized seizures are seizures that may impact all regions of the brain. Generalized seizures have six main types of generalized seizures:
- Absence seizures. They were initially known as petit mal seizures. Absence seizures generally affect children. They last between 5 and 10 seconds. You can see these people staring into space regardless of slight body movements such as eye blinking or lip smacking. These seizures can cause a brief loss of consciousness and can occur up to one hundred times daily.
- Tonic seizures. Tonic seizures cause muscle resistance and may impair consciousness. These affect the back, arms, and legs; these seizures may cause you to tumble to the ground.
- Atonic seizures. Atonic seizures, also called drop seizures. You can recognize them with impairment of muscle control. Since this condition mainly affects the legs, it frequently causes sudden collapse or falling.
- Clonic seizures. Clonic seizures show up as repetitive or rhythmic muscle contractions.
- Myoclonic seizures. Myoclonic seizures manifest as sudden, brief jerks or twitches and affect the arms, legs, and upper body. Typically, these seizures affect the neck, face, and arms.
- Tonic-clonic seizures. Tonic-clonic seizures, formerly referred to as grand mal seizures. They constitute the most severe type of epileptic seizure. They can cause a sudden loss of consciousness and stiffening, trembling, and shaking the body. They can occasionally cause loss of bladder control or tongue biting.
Epilepsy is not contagious. It is fitting that several underlying disease processes can lead to epilepsy. Still, the cause of the disease is unknown in approximately 50% of cases worldwide. The causes of epilepsy are classified as structural, genetic, contagious, metabolic, immune, and unidentified.
Injury to the brain from prenatal or perinatal causes (e.g., lack of oxygen or birth trauma, low birth weight); congenital abnormalities or genetic conditions with associated brain malformations; a severe head injury; a stroke that restricts the amount of oxygen to the brain; a brain infection such as meningitis, encephalitis, or neurocysticercosis; and a brain tumour are examples.
How are epileptic fits diagnosed?
The symptoms, physical examination findings, and outcomes of tests like an electroencephalogram (EEG), computed tomography (CT or CAT scan), or magnetic resonance imaging are all done during an epilepsy diagnosis (MRI).
It is crucial to properly diagnose both the form of epilepsy and the type of seizures. There are several major seizure classifications, and the majority are associated with particular forms of the disorder.
How is epilepsy generally treated?
Rehabilitation for epilepsy may have some positive results. It can reduce its severity or eradicate it. These are some treatment options:
- Antiepileptic (anticonvulsant, antiseizure) drugs. Antiepileptic drugs can aid in reducing the frequency of seizures. In some individuals, they may prevent attacks. For the medicine to work best, you must take it exactly as your doctor told you to.
- Vagus nerve stimulator. To prevent seizures, this device is surgically implanted under the skin of the chest. It electrically provokes the nerve that runs through the neck.
- Ketogenic diet. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, the ketogenic diet, which is high in fat and low in carbohydrates, benefits more than half of children who do not respond to medications.
- Neurosurgery is brain surgery. You or your healthcare team can decide the best treatment for your condition. The brain area that causes seizure activity can be removed or altered.
It is possible to manage epilepsy with antiepileptic medicines and avoid its triggers. Your treatment plan depends on certain important factors. These include your age, medical history and your types of seizures. Epilepsy affects your life badly, and paying attention to its proper treatment is essential. Consult with the best psychologist to find the treatment plan for your seizures.
1. How can one live everyday life with focal epilepsy?
In most cases, the children can cure epilepsy and lead a seizure-free life afterwards. Adults can also benefit from regular treatment and life adjustments. They can live everyday life with minor difficulties.
2. What is the most common symptom of epilepsy?
Repeated seizure is the most prominent sign of epilepsy. It is abrupt and spontaneous, emerging from the electrical activity in the brain. It halts the normal working of the brain temporarily. Seizures show up differently in different people.
3. How does epilepsy impact memory?
Any epileptic seizure can potentially impair your memory, either during or after the attack. Memory issues may occur more frequently if you have frequent seizures.