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Epilepsy-A neurological disorder

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Epilepsy-A neurological disorder

Epilepsy is a group of neurological disorders characterized by epileptic seizures or convulsions. This is simply called as excessive or abnormal brain activity. The seizures may be mild or severe. The normal pattern of neuronal activity becomes disturbed, causing strange sensations, emotions.  Epileptic seizures are episodes that can vary from brief and nearly undetectable to long periods of vigorous shaking. These episodes can result in physical injuries including occasionally broken bones.

Causes of Epilepsy are

  • Genetics
  • Electrical impulses control muscle movements
  • Excessive electrical impulses sent out from the brain
  • Epilepsy may occur as a result of a number of other conditions including
    • tumors,
    • strokes,
    • head trauma,
    • previous infections of the central nervous system,
    • genetic abnormalities,
    • result of brain damage around the time of birth

Seizures, abnormal movements or behavior due to unusual electrical activity in the brain, are a symptom of epilepsy

Non-epileptic seizures or pseudo seizures accompanied by abnormal electrical activity in the brain and may be caused by psychological issues or stress.

Provoked seizures are single seizures that may occur as the result of trauma, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), low blood sodium, high fever, or alcohol or drug abuse.

Symptoms

  • Stiff muscles
  • Shaking arms and legs
  • During seizures accidental loss of urine is common, unconsciousness, making noise, vomiting.

Diagnosis 

Diagnosis of epilepsy is typically made based on observation of the seizure onset and the underlying cause

  • electroencephalogram (EEG) to look for abnormal patterns of brain waves
  • neuroimaging (CT scan or MRI) to look at the structure of the brain
  • Video and EEG monitoring may be useful in difficult cases

Prevention

epilepsy is not preventable in many cases but some measures to be taken

  • efforts to reduce head injuries
  • provide good care around the time of birth
  • reduce environmental parasites such as the pork tapeworm

Treatment

Epilepsy cannot usually be cured, but medication can control seizures effectively in about 70% of cases. Epilepsy is usually treated with daily medication once a second seizure has occurred, but for those at high risk, medication may be started after the first seizure.In drug-resistant cases different management options may be looked at including a special diet, the implantation of a neurostimulator, or neurosurgery.

Surgery

Epilepsy surgery may be an option for people with focal seizures that remain a problem despite other treatments.

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