Epilepsy ----- valippu
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14th Oct 2011, 10:22 PM #1
Epilepsy ----- valippu
Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes you to have recurring seizures.
Seizures happen when the electrical activity in your brain is suddenly disrupted. This disruption can cause changes in your body movements, awareness, behaviour, emotions or senses.
Seizures are also referred to as fits, attacks or convulsions.
Symptoms vary from person to person.
Some people may have simple staring spells, while others have violent shaking and loss of alertness.
The type of seizure depends on the part of the brain affected and cause of epilepsy.
Most of the time, the seizure is similar to the previous one.
Some people with epilepsy have a strange sensation (such as tingling,
smelling an odor that isn't actually there,
or emotional changes) before each seizure.
This is called an aura.
Seizures are mainly categorised as partial or generalised, depending on the degree to which your brain is affected.
Partial seizures affect only part of your brain. Symptoms of partial seizures depend on which part of your brain is affected.
Generalised seizures affect all or most of your brain.
You will lose consciousness and won't remember what happened.
There are several different types of generalised seizure
Epilepsy occurs when permanent changes in brain tissue cause the brain to be too excitable or jumpy.
The brain sends out abnormal signals.
This results in repeated, unpredictable seizures. (A single seizure that does not happen again is not epilepsy.)
Epilepsy may be due to a medical condition or injury that affects the brain, or the cause may be unknown (idiopathic).
Common causes of epilepsy include:
Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
Dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease
Traumatic brain injury
Infections, including brain abscess, meningitis, encephalitis, and AIDS
Brain problems that are present at birth (congenital brain defect)
Brain injury that occurs during or near bith
Metabolism disorders that a child may be born with (such as phenylketonuria)
Abnormal blood vessels in the brain
Other illness that damage or destroy brain tissue
Epilepsy seizures usually begin between ages 5 and 20, but they can happen at any age. There may be a family history of seizures or epilepsy
Exams and Tests »
The doctor will perform a physical exam, which will include a detailed look at the brain and nervous system.
An EEG (electroencephalogram) will be done to check the electrical activity in the brain. People with epilepsy will often have abnormal electrical activity seen on this test.
In some cases, the test may show the area in the brain where the seizures start
You may need to wear an EEG recorder for days or weeks while you go about your everyday life.
You may need to stay in a special hospital where brain activity can be be watched on video cameras. This is called video EEG.
Tests that may be done include:
CBC (complete blood count)
Kidney function tests
Liver function tests
Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
Tests for infectious diseases
Head CT or MRI scan often done to find the cause and location of the problem in the brain.
Treatment of epilepsy
There isn't a cure for epilepsy. The aim of treatment is to prevent seizures.
Some people can identify things that trigger their seizures. Triggers can include:
lack of sleep
missing a dose of epilepsy medicine
alcohol or illegal drugs
flashing or flickering lights - this is called photosensitive epilepsy
hormonal changes, for example, at certain times of the menstrual cycle in women - this is called catamenial epilepsy
a high temperature - for example, if you're ill with flu
If you know that something triggers your seizures, you may be able to find ways of avoiding this to help control your epilepsy.
Keeping a diary to record your seizures may help you to identify any triggers.
It can also help you to notice if there are any changes in the length or frequency of your seizures.
Epilepsy medicines - or anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) - can control seizures in around eight out of 10 people. AEDs prevent seizures from happening - they aren't used to stop seizures while they are happening.
You will usually be prescribed one medicine. If it's not controlling your seizures well, you may be offered an alternative or a combination of medicines.
AEDs can interact with other medicines, such as the contraceptive pill, so it's important to tell your doctor if you're taking anything else.
If you haven't had a seizure for two or three years, you may be able to gradually reduce the dose of your AEDs and eventually stop taking them. Ask your doctor for more advice.
Common side-effects of AEDs include drowsiness and dizziness, but these often disappear when your body adjusts to the medicine.
Vagus nerve stimulation can reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures for some people. This involves an operation to implant an electrical device in your chest, which stimulates a nerve in your neck called the vagus nerve.
For some people with severe epilepsy, brain surgery (neurosurgery) may be an option. You will only be able to have surgery if epilepsy is associated with a specific area of your brain. Ask your doctor for more information.
Living with epilepsy
If you have epilepsy, it may mean you can't drive as there is a risk that you could have a seizure while driving.
You may not be able to do certain activities or jobs where it could be dangerous for you to have a seizure.
You may be tempted not to discuss your seizures with your doctor because of the potential impact on your lifestyle.
However it's important to understand that these restrictions help to protect not only your safety but that of others including your own relatives and friends.
16th Oct 2011, 05:44 PM #2
Re: Epilepsy ----- valippu
Thanks 4 sharing Viji.....
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