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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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The link between the troubles is still unknown.