People with epilepsy experience recurrent seizures, because a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain causes a temporary disturbance in the messaging systems between brain cells.
Epilepsy as “a common neurological condition characterized by recurrent seizures.”
- Epilepsy is a neurological disorder.
- Primary symptoms commonly include seizures.
- Seizures have a range of severity depending on the individual.
- Treatments include anti-seizure medications.
The main symptom of epilepsy is repeated seizures. If one or more of the following symptoms are present, the individual should see a doctor, especially if they recur:
- a convulsion with no temperature (no fever)
- short spells of blackout, or confused memory
- intermittent fainting spells, during which bowel or bladder control is lost, which is frequently followed by extreme tiredness
- for a short period, the person is unresponsive to instructions or questions
- the person becomes stiff, suddenly, for no apparent reason
- the person suddenly falls for no clear reason
- sudden bouts of blinking without apparent stimuli
- sudden bouts of chewing, without any apparent reason
- for a short time the person seems dazed and unable to communicate
- repetitive movements that seem inappropriate
- the person becomes fearful for no apparent reason; they may even panic or become angry
- peculiar changes in senses, such as smell, touch, and sound
- the arms, legs, or body jerk, in babies these will appear as a cluster of rapid jerking movements
The following conditions need to be eliminated. They may present similar symptoms and are sometimes misdiagnosed as epilepsy:
- high fever with epilepsy-like symptoms
- narcolepsy, or recurring episodes of sleep during the day
- cataplexy, or periods of extreme muscle weakness
- sleep disorders
- panic attacks
- fugue states, a rare psychiatric disorder
- psychogenic seizures
There is currently no cure for most types of epilepsy. However, surgery can stop some kinds of seizure from occurring, and in many cases, the condition can be managed.
If an underlying correctable brain condition is causing the seizures, sometimes surgery can stop them. If epilepsy is diagnosed, the doctor will prescribe seizure-preventing drugs or anti-epileptic drugs.
If drugs do not work, the next option could be surgery, a special diet or VNS (vagus nerve stimulation).
The doctor’s aim is to prevent further seizures from occurring, while at the same time avoiding side effects so that the patient can lead a normal, active, and productive life.