Epilepsy is a brain disorder that is characterized by recurring seizures. The activity of the brain becomes disrupted, leading to seizure or sessions of abnormal behavior, sensations and at times loss of consciousness.
The symptoms of the seizures may vary widely. Some people stare blankly for a couple of seconds while others repeatedly twitch their arms and legs.
Statistics indicate that 1 out of every 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy. An estimated 10% of the people may have a single unprovoked seizure. Note that having a single seizure does not necessarily mean you have epilepsy. It takes at least two unprovoked seizures to have an epilepsy diagnosis.
Symptoms of Epilepsy
Since epilepsy results from abnormal activity in the brain cells, the seizures may interfere with any process coordinated by the brain. The most prevalent symptoms of epilepsy include:
- Momentary confusion
- Loss of consciousness or awareness
- A staring session
- Intense shaking movements of the arms and legs
- Psychic manifestations
The symptoms may differ based on the stage of seizure. However, in most instances, the epileptic may exhibit similar symptoms every time. In other words the person will behave in the same manner session to session.
Treatment of Epilepsy
Treating epilepsy involves taking medication. If the drugs fail to address the ailment, your doctor may recommend surgery or another type of treatment.
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Anti-seizure medication is a standard prescription for people with epilepsy. The drugs seek to reduce the frequency and intensity of the seizure. The doctor will advise on the type of medication to take and when you should stop using the drugs.
The doctor will determine the dosage as well, based on factors such as age, the frequency of the seizures and the severity of the condition. At least half of patients with epilepsy become seizure-free with their first medication.
Surgery is an option if the examination indicates that the seizure starts in a small, distinct area of the brain that does not interfere with essential functions such as hearing, visual language and motor function as well as speech.
If the seizures start in the area of the brain that controls critical functions, the patient may be awake during part of the surgery, a period during which the doctor will monitor and ask the patient questions.
In conclusion, if the seizures start from a part of the brain that cannot is sensitive, the doctor may recommend a surgery that involves making several cuts to prevent the convulsions from spreading to other parts of the brain.