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Epilepsy: 7 things to know



During a seizure, the neurons fail and send the brain an unusually large and rapid surge of electrical signals. This can lead to involuntary changes in body movements, behavior, sensations and, in some cases, loss of consciousness.

Here is what you need to know about epilepsy, seizures and its impact on the general health of patients.

The symptoms of epilepsy vary according to their type

The symptoms of epilepsy manifest themselves differently depending on their severity, from seizures and a loss of consciousness to a brief loss of consciousness accompanied by a rapid flicker, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and stroke.

Focal seizures occur in an isolated part of the brain. The symptoms of these epileptic seizures vary, ranging from an intense sensation of déjà vu and a sudden mood change to a dreamy sensation and repetitive movements like blinking eyes. , shake and swallow.

Generalized seizures impact both sides of the brain. Symptoms include empty looks, slight contractions, stiffness, jerks, and loss of consciousness.

About 50% of cases of epilepsy have no identifiable cause

Half of the cases of epilepsy have no known cause. For the other half, epilepsy is related to:

Genetic mutation The institute estimates that hundreds of genes are attributable to the disease. Mutations affect neuronal functioning in different ways, causing different forms of epilepsy. Other genetic mutations do not cause epilepsy but can increase the susceptibility of patients to seizures.

Traumatic brain injury A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 1 in 10 teenagers had epilepsy three years after hospitalization for head trauma.

Conditions of the brain When the brain tries to heal itself after disturbances such as benign tumors or Alzheimer's disease, it can inadvertently disrupt neuronal functioning. Stroke, which occurs when blood flow is cut off from one area of ​​the brain, is the leading cause of epilepsy in adults over 35 years of age.

High fever

Infectious diseases, like HIV and meningitis.

Epilepsy is often accompanied by a host of other chronic diseases, such as heart disease, depression or asthma, that can complicate treatment, the CDC said.

All seizures are not related to epilepsy

A diagnosis of epilepsy requires that the patient have at least two "unprovoked" seizures occurring at least 24 hours apart. Seizures "caused" or caused by factors such as high fever, acute traumatic brain injury or low blood sugar are not considered epileptic.

There is no cure for epilepsy, but it can be controlled in most cases.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, approximately 70% of people with epilepsy can handle the disorder surgically or medically. Antiepileptic drugs can decrease the frequency and intensity of seizures and, in some cases, especially in children, put an end to patient seizures. At least half of people with a new diagnosis of epilepsy can live without a seizure after their first order, says the Mayo Clinic.

Surgery is recommended when medications do not control seizures and that doctors can determine the exact region of the brain from which seizures arise, provided that intervention on that area does not interfere with speech, language or motor skills.

Patients with treatment-refractory epilepsy who are not candidates for surgery may opt for the implantation of a vagus nerve stimulator that sends electrical bursts into the vagus nerve and to the brain, which inhibits seizures up to 40%.

But the other 30% of patients with epilepsy can not control their seizures with available treatment. Although most seizures do not result in significant brain damage, this form of disorder, known as insoluble or treatment-resistant epilepsy, subjects patients to frequent, uncontrolled, life-threatening seizures.

Drug Made with Marijuana Compound Reduces Severe Seizures in Children

Although epilepsy is still incurable, researchers have developed unconventional treatments to mitigate the effects of severe forms. A study conducted in 2017 found that cannabidiol, a chemical found in marijuana that does not produce much, decreases the frequency of seizures in children with Dravet syndrome, a form of pediatric epilepsy that is generally resistant to treatment.
The FDA approved the drug in 2018 for use in patients aged 2 years and older with Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.

One in 1,000 people suffer sudden and unexpected death from epilepsy each year

People with epilepsy have an increased risk of dying suddenly for reasons that researchers are still trying to understand. A sudden and unexpected death related to epilepsy, known as SUDEP, can occur throughout the spectrum of epilepsy, regardless of the severity or type of seizure.
A study conducted in June found that out of 530 participants with epilepsy, 237 had experienced CPUE in the past eight years. More than 70% of deaths occurred during sleep, and the average victim was 26, although PEDSU can occur at any age.

Despite unknown causes, researchers advise patients with epilepsy to regularly take the prescribed doses of medications. Failure to do so could increase the risk of PES.

Epilepsy is more common in autistic people

People with autism are 20% more likely to suffer from epilepsy, but it has not been proven that autism spectrum disorders caused epilepsy. Two epileptic syndromes in particular, Landau-Kleffner and West, have been studied repeatedly to co-produce with autism.
The severity of epilepsy also increases in patients with autism spectrum disorders. In a 2010 study of children with autism, over one-third of patients also had treatment-resistant epilepsy.

The link between the troubles is still unknown.

For more information on treatment and resources related to epilepsy, visit epilepsy.com.

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