Epilepsy: All about Seizures

12 August, 2020 Sabah Tyagi

Epilepsy is one of the neurological disorder caused by increased electrical activity which results in unprovoked recurrent seizures. It can affect any age group, any gender without any specific predilection to race, ethnicity. The individual may either appear as lost or show extreme twitching of the body. There are different type of epilepsy disorders.

Some of them are confined to the certain areas of the brain and hence, known as focal seizures. Some are generalized seizures affecting the entire brain. Other neurological disorders are Down’s syndrome, Autism, etc. if recognized early; the severity of the disorder can be limited to certain extent.

The severity of the seizure varies from mild to severe. In some instances, the affected individual may not recognize the episode which involves few moments of blankness. Single episode of seizure cannot confer the diagnosis of epilepsy. History of two or more seizure attack can be considered as epilepsy disorder. Medications and surgical intervention may help many individuals. In, children the disorder may vanish with the growing age. Epilepsy is known to affect 65 million people worldwide.

3MEDS- online medicine delivery in Delhi, explains about the types, causes, symptoms and therapeutic modalities to combat the epilepsy:

Seizures may be caused by many other factors as well, without having epilepsy disorder such as alcohol withdrawal syndrome, high degree fever, trauma to the head, hypoglycaemia. These type of seizures are known as pseudo-seizures.

Types of Epilepsy

Focal seizures (partial)

- Simple focal seizures

-  Complex focal seizures

Generalized seizures

- Absence seizures

- Tonic seizures

- Atonic seizures

- Clonic seizures

- Myoclonic seizures

- Tonic-clonic seizures

Symptoms of Epilepsy:

Generally, epilepsy results in the twitching of the body, arms and legs, temporary confusion, temporary loss of awareness, a gawking spell, anxiety, fear, déjà vu.

Based on the area affected, it is divided into focal and generalized

Focal seizures are limited to certain part of the area with or without impaired consciousness

- In simple focal seizure, the consciousness is not lost. The affected individual exhibits alterations to taste, sight, smell, and touch. Also, involves involuntary jerking of the body parts along with sensory movements such as dizziness, tingling and flashing of lights.

- In complex focal seizure, the consciousness is lost. The individual becomes temporarily unaware of the surrounding. Affected individual exhibits staring blankly into space as if some cast is spelled, or may involve in repetitive patterns such as hitting, chewing, walking in circles, etc.

Generalized seizures affect the whole of brain and cause loss of consciousness, They are of 6 types

Absence seizures: initially known as petit-mal seizures. Most common in children. It involves loss of awareness along with repetitive lip smacking and eye blinking. It is accompanied by staring into space.

Tonic seizures: causes stiffening of muscles, and the affected individual may fall to the ground.

Atonic seizures: relaxation or loss of control over muscles resulting in collapsing of the individual.

Clonic seizures: these seizures are characterized by the rhythmic involuntary jerking of muscles of arms, neck and face.

 - Myoclonic seizures: affected individual presents spontaneous brief jerking of arms and legs.

Tonic-clonic seizures: initially known as grand-mal seizures. The affected individual presents an array of symptoms which involves body stiffening, shaking, and involuntary loss of a bowel and bladder movements, tongue biting, and loss of consciousness.

Following an episode of seizure, the individual may forget the episode or tend to remain ill for certain period.

Causes of Epilepsy:

Genetics: some epilepsies are linked to genes and are hereditary.

Trauma to the head: any accident, or trauma result in development of epilepsy.

Damage to the brain: as a result of stroke, post injury scarring of brain, tumour may cause epilepsy.

Infections like AIDS, meningitis, certain type of viral fever cause epilepsy.

Prenatal injury: damage to the brain in the womb, or due to certain drugs, deficiency of oxygen results in infants develop prenatal injury.

Developmental disorders like Autism, and other neurologic disorders.

Risk factors are as same as that of causes except Alzheimer’s disease and age (young children and older adults).

Trigger factors include irregular sleep, caffeine, medications, alcohol, certain food ingredients, lights, and stress.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

EEG (Electroencephalogram) is the diagnostic test used to detect electrical activity of the brain with the help of electrodes attached to the scalp.

Other tests include blood test, CT, MRI, PET scan, single positron emission tomography.

Therapeutic modalities include,

· Medications: Anti-epileptic drugs like phenytoin, carbamazepine, Gabapentin, locasamide are advised which has to be taken regularly without fail. Buy medicines online in India from 3MEDS.

Vagus nerve stimulator: it is a device used to record the electrical activity of the vagus nerve and prevent seizure attack

Diet modification: ketogenic diet is recommended if medications fail to show improvement

Surgery: brain surgery is recommended if all other treatment modalities fail.

Outlook:

Epilepsy is common among every age group. There is no permanent cure for epilepsy. It reduces on its own or with the help of medications. Avoidance of trigger factors help in reducing the number of episodes. Complications include drowning, accident, and pregnancy related complications. One must ensure company while on drive or heights. Do not skip medications.