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Overview of Epilepsy

Info: 1831 words (7 pages) Essay
Published: 5th Sep 2017 in Health

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Epilepsy is a neurological disorder marked by sudden episodes of bodily disturbance, loss of consciousness, or seizures, related to abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

Anything that injuries the brain can result in epilepsy. Some of the common causes are head injuries and strokes. Other more infrequent causes are brain tumours and some genetic disorders like tuber sclerosis.

A seizure is the only observable symptom of epilepsy. There are various types of seizures and symptoms of each type. Seizures typically last from a few seconds to a few minutes. A person may lose awareness. They may not recall what occurred during the seizure or may not even realise they had a seizure.

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Seizures that make you fall to the ground or make the muscles stiffen or move out of control are easy to recognise. Some seizures might make you gaze into space for a few seconds. Others may only involve a few muscle jerks, a turn of the head, or an odd smell.

Epileptic seizures often happen without notice. “A seizure ends when the abnormal electrical activity in the brain stops and brain activity begins to return to normal”.

Idiopathic Generalised Epilepsy

In idiopathic generalised epilepsy, there is often a genetic history of epilepsy. Idiopathic generalised epilepsy have a tendency to appear during childhood although it may not be diagnosed until maturity. In this type of epilepsy, no nervous system condition, other than the seizures, can be identified on either an EEG (EEG – a test which measures electrical impulses in the brain) or MRI (imaging studies).

People with idiopathic generalised epilepsy have ordinary brainpower and the outcomes of the neurological exam and MRI are usually normal. The results of the EEG test may show epileptic releases affecting one or more areas.

The types of seizures that affect patients with idiopathic generalised epilepsy:

  • Myoclonic seizures (unexpected and very short length of jerking)
  • Absence seizures (staring spells)
  • Generalised tonic-clonic seizures (affect the entire brain)

Idiopathic Partial Epilepsy

Idiopathic partial epilepsy begins in youth (between ages 5 and 8) and may be part of a family history. It is considered one of the mildest types of epilepsy. It is almost always outgrown by puberty and is never diagnosed in adults.

Seizures tend to arise during sleep and are most often partial motor seizures that involve the face. This type of epilepsy is usually identified with an EEG.

Symptomatic Generalised Epilepsy

Symptomatic generalised epilepsy is caused by brain damage. For example, injury during birth is the most common cause of symptomatic generalised epilepsy. When the cause of symptomatic general epilepsy cannot be identified, the disorder may be referred to as cryptogenic epilepsy.

Symptomatic Partial Epilepsy

Symptomatic partial epilepsy is the most common type of epilepsy that begins in maturity, but it does occur often in children. This type of epilepsy is caused by a local condition of the brain, which can consequence from strokes, tumours, trauma, birth brain condition, scarring of brain tissue, cysts, or infections.

These brain conditions can be seen on MRI scans, but often they cannot be recognised, because they are microscopic.

Symptomatic partial epilepsy may be successfully treated with surgery.

Identify and watch for a specific behaviour or physical and emotional signs that come before attacks. It’s not exceptional, to feel annoyed or joyful several hours prior to the seizure, and immediately before the attack.

The person may become conscious of a warning “aura” perhaps a taste or a smell. This notice may let the person to lie down in time to avoid falling down. In situations where the “aura” is a smell, some people are capable of fighting off seizures by smelling a strong odour, such as garlic or roses. When the first signs include depression, irritability, or a headache, an extra dosage of medication may help prevent an attack.

Electroencephalogram (EEG)

“An EEG test measures the electrical activity of your brain through electrodes placed on your scalp”. During the test, a person might be asked to breathe deeply or to close their eyes, as these activities could expose unfamiliar brain activity related to epilepsy.

A person might also be asked to gaze at a flashing light, but the test will be stopped immediately if it seems like the flashing light could cause a seizure.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan

An MRI scan can often spot possible causes of epilepsy, such as faults in the structure of your brain or the existence of a brain tumour.

At the moment there is no remedy for epilepsy.

Anti – Epileptic Drug (AED)

Anti – Epileptic Drugs are commonly the first choice of treatment. They work by changing the levels of chemicals in your brain. This reduces the chances of seizures. Around 70% control their seizures with AED.

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Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)

Vagus Nerve Stimulation is a therapy that is recommended when the Anti-Epileptic Drug don’t work and epilepsy is still poorly controlled. This involves surgically implanting an electrical device, like a pacemaker, under the skin, near the collarbone. The electrical device has a lead that is bound around one of the nerves on the left side of your neck, identified as the vagus nerve. The electrical device passes a regular amount of electricity to the nerve to stimulate it. This can help to reduce the occurrence of seizures.

Surgical procedure

Surgery will only be suggested if a single area of one side of the brain is causing seizures. As with all types of surgery, this surgical procedure carries a threat. One person in 100 has a stroke after surgery and five in 100 suffer from memory problems. Yet, around 70% of people who suffer from epilepsy, after the surgical procedure they become absolutely free of seizures.

Epilepsy Ireland was established in 1966 by a group of people who were eager to progress the quality of life of people with epilepsy in Ireland.

Over 50 years, Epilepsy Ireland have grown and expanded. They now provide a range of services from their head office in Dublin and from regional offices in Cork, Dundalk, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Letterkenny, Limerick, Sligo and Tullamore.

Epilepsy Ireland is committed to working and consulting the needs of everyone with epilepsy in Ireland and their families.

Certain objectives of Epilepsy Ireland are; to be committed to working and considering the needs of everyone with epilepsy in Ireland. To provide support, information and advice on health to people who are dealing with epilepsy. To undertake any awareness campaigns to improve peoples’ understanding of epilepsy, also to increase funds to support its work in an awareness-creating method. One of their main objective is to assume, inspire and support research into the source of epilepsy and a cure for it.

Many people with epilepsy live standard lives. Progressive brain scans and other procedures allow greater accurateness in diagnosing epilepsy and defining when a patient may be aided by surgery. More than 20 different medications and a diversity of surgical methods are now available and offer good control of seizures for most people with epilepsy. Other treatment selections include the ketogenic diet and the vagus nerve stimulator. Research on the fundamental causes of epilepsy, include the recognition of genes for some types of epilepsy and seizures, it has managed a great improvement of understanding about epilepsy that may lead to more effective treatments or even some new ways of preventing epilepsy in the future.

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