Epilepsy means the same thing as seizure disorders. It is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by sudden, recurrent unpredictable seizures associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain. A seizure could be in form of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness or convulsion.
Causes and Risk Factors
The cause of most cases of epilepsy is unknown. Some cases occur as the result of brain injury, stroke, brain tumors, infections of the brain, and birth defects. Epileptic seizures are the result of excessive and abnormal nerve cell activity in the cortex of the brain.
Because epilepsy is caused by abnormal activity in brain cells, seizures can affect any process your brain coordinates. Signs and symptoms may include: Temporary confusion, A staring spell, Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs, Loss of consciousness or awareness, Psychic symptoms
The diagnosis of epilepsy is typically made based on observation of the seizure onset and the underlying cause. An electroencephalogram (EEG) to look for abnormal patterns of brain waves and neuroimaging (CT scan or MRI) to look at the structure of the brain are also usually part of the diagnosis.
Most people with epilepsy can become seizure-free by taking one anti-seizure medication, called anti-epileptic medication. Others may be able to decrease the frequency and intensity of their seizures by taking a combination of medications. In rare cases, however, surgery may be required.
Avoidance of flashy lights or any observed precipitating factors help reducing the incidence of seizures. Efforts to reduce head injuries, provide good care around the time of birth, and reduce environmental parasites such as the pork tapeworm may be effective.