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Epilepsy

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a mental health disorder that affects the CNS (Central Nervous System). Patients suffering from Epilepsy have unusual brain activity that induces epileptic seizures. These seizures could be mild and patients don’t even notice. While on the other hands some patients might suffer from shaking, trembling, and loss of awareness for a long period of time. In many areas around the world, epilepsy is treated using unconventional methods and patients are unable to get proper treatment due to lack of awareness.

Epilepsy can affect people of all ages irrespective of gender. Sometimes the seizures could be really complicated and doctors might take some time before detecting epilepsy. If a patient suffers from frequent seizures they should consult a doctor and get diagnosed for epilepsy.

What are types of epilepsy?

Epilepsy can be divided into two distinct types depending on the seizure that the patient is suffering from.

Focal seizures

Also known as partial seizures. These are the type of seizures in which the seizure affects a certain limited part of the brain. Usually, it is determined by finding the site or area of the brain from where the seizure starts. If a patient is aware of things happening around them and respond to them, they are suffering from focal seizures with retained awareness. If a patient loses awareness and is unable to respond to things happening around them, they are suffering from a focal dyscognitive seizure or focal seizure with a loss of awareness.

Generalized seizures

Generalized seizures are the ones on which patients have seizure-related activity in the entire brain. This encompasses both hemispheres of the brain in most of the cases.

What are symptoms of a epilepsy?

Symptoms of epilepsy differ from one patient to another. Symptoms usually depend on the type of epilepsy a patient is suffering from.

Symptoms for focal seizures

  • Change on taste
  • Increased or decreased sense of smell
  • Blurred vision or loss of sight
  • Loss of hearing, sensitivity to sounds or ringing in ears
  • Change in feeling or sense of touch
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Repetitive uncontrolled movements
  • Unresponsiveness or a blank stare
  • Tingling, trembling or twitching of limbs

Symptoms of generalized seizures

  • Blank stare
  • Repetitive lip movement
  • Blinking of eyes
  • Loss of awareness
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Twitching of limbs
  • Stiffness of body
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control
  • Tongue biting
  • Loss of consciousness

What are common triggers for epileptic seizures?

Some of the common things that trigger epilepsy in patients are listed below:

  • Stress
  • Bright flashing lights
  • Caffeine
  • Medicines
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Irregular diet
  • Excessive eating
  • Certain foods
  • Graphics from videogames or screens
  • Loud music, noise or sounds

How is epilepsy treated?

Complete treatment of epilepsy is not possible. In most cases, patients are able to manage the symptoms to decrease the severity of this disease. Usually, this is made possible with the help of both therapy and medications. Therapy helps patients in dealing with the symptoms. While medication helps in decreasing the severity of these symptoms. There are many different anti-epileptic medications available that are usually prescribed by doctors after a complete diagnosis. Commonly prescribed medications are Epidolex, Carbatrol, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin

In certain cases, patients might need surgery to treat epilepsy. It could be a simple surgery to place a vagus nerve stimulator in the chest or complicated brain surgery to remove or alter a certain part of the brain that causes epileptic seizures. Vagus nerve stimulator is a device that electrically stimulates the main nerve that runs from the brain through the neck to other parts of the body. This device helps in decreasing the severity of an epileptic seizure.