The Epilepsy is a disorder of the nervous system plant that causes an alteration of brain activity, resulting in convulsions and even loss of consciousness. Anyone can get this disease as it affects both men and women of all races and ages.
What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a neuronal disease that arises from the abnormal functioning of a set of neurons. Generally, the only symptom of this condition is seizures , which occur intermittently.
These crises occur due to an excess of electrical activity by a group of neurons, which can significantly affect movement, behavior and even the level of consciousness. Crises last for a few seconds or minutes ; after the time has elapsed, the brain returns to function with complete normality.
We can differentiate between two types of epileptic seizures. On the one hand, the so-called generalized; As their name suggests, they affect the entire brain, thus causing the sufferer to lose consciousness. And, on the other hand, partial seizures, in which the discharge takes place in a specific area of the brain.
Many of the patients with epilepsy, minutes before the seizure, experience what is called aura; it is a sensation that allows them to detect that a crisis is going to be triggered in a short time.
What kind of crisis are there?
As we have noted, seizures are classified as partial and generalized. We are going to analyze each one of them.
On the one hand, partial crises , which are grouped into two large categories. In the first place, those that do not give rise to the loss of knowledge of who suffers them; they alter the emotions and the senses and cause involuntary jerky movements of a certain area of the body, in addition to giving rise to a tingling sensation in the arms and / or legs. And, secondly, partial seizures with altered consciousness; the patient stares into space but is unable to respond to his environment, in addition to performing certain repetitive movements.
And, on the other hand, generalized crises , of which there are six types.
- Absence: they are those that occur mainly in children; they have episodes of staring into space and certain very subtle body or facial movements.
- Tonic: they cause muscular rigidity and affect mainly the extremities and the back; special care must be taken as they can cause falls.
- Atonic: are those that cause the complete loss of muscle control.
- Clonic: This type of seizure results in a series of repetitive muscle movements in the neck, face and arms.
- Myoclinical: appear as brief jerky movements in the arms and legs.
- Tonic-clonic: they are the most intense epileptic seizures of all and can cause a loss of consciousness, as well as strong shaking of the body.
Causes of epilepsy
Despite the many studies and research that have been done to try to find out the causes of epilepsy, these are not exactly known. Some of the risk factors that can lead to this disease are as follows.
- Those people who have a certain disease that affects other organs , such as the liver or kidneys, are more likely to suffer from epilepsy, especially if they are over 65 years old.
- Family history of epilepsy is also an important risk factor for the development of this disease.
- The brain birth injuries sometimes result in epilsepsia during childhood.
- Various traumas that affect the head in some way, such as in traffic accidents.
- Brain diseases , such as meningitis or encephalitis .
- Brain hemorrhages that lead to the formation of a blood clot inside the brain.
Epilepsy occurs due to abnormal activity in the brain . Thus, seizures can affect any process. Some of the more common symptoms that accompany seizures: confusion, jerky movements, anxiety, fear, and loss of consciousness.
As we have pointed out, there are different types of seizures, so the symptoms vary remarkably depending on this, as well as the age of the patient.
Diagnosis and treatment
Epilepsy is a relatively simple disease to diagnose. Once the patient goes to his doctor and explains the symptoms, he will request a neurological examination to determine motor skills, mental function and other aspects related to the brain. A blood test is also usually done to determine if there is an infection or other abnormality in the body that leads to the seizures.
Another common test in the diagnosis of epilepsy is the electroencephalogram ; those patients with epilepsy present changes in the normal pattern of brain waves.
Once the disease is diagnosed, the doctor must determine the appropriate treatment. Generally, medications are used first and, later, if they do not work, to surgery.
- Anti-seizure drugs: these types of drugs significantly decrease both the frequency and intensity of seizures.
- Surgery: If medication fails to control seizures, in some cases surgery is resorted to. For this, the seizures must originate in a small and well-defined area of the brain and, furthermore, the area to be operated on does not interfere in any way with vital functions.
Suffering an epileptic seizure at certain times can give rise to a series of risky circumstances, both for the patient himself and for the people around him.
- Falls: Seizures and convulsions in the arms and legs can lead to falls. This is especially serious in older people, whose bones are much more fragile and therefore the risk of fracture is higher.
- Drowning: having an epilepsy attack in the shower, as well as in the pool or on the beach, can cause a complicated situation because if no one in the environment notices what is happening, the risk of drowning is great.
- Traffic accidents: a seizure that results in jerky limb movements or loss of consciousness can be very dangerous while driving.
- Pregnancy: Of course, seizures during pregnancy are very dangerous for both mother and baby. In addition, certain medications to combat this disease increase the risk of defects in the fetus.
In Spain it is estimated that about 400,000 people suffer from epilepsy ; Although it is a disease that affects people of all ages, it generally occurs in children and in people over 65 years of age. Worldwide, an estimated 50 million people have epilpesia; This condition occurs equally in people of all races.
Every year more than 20,000 new cases are diagnosed in Spain , thus being one of the most common neurological conditions of all. Experts point out that it is the second reason for neurological consultation, only behind headache.
It is worth noting the fact that approximately 5% of the population would suffer an epilepsy episode at some point in their lives . However, this does not necessarily imply that they are patients with epilepsy; Sometimes seizures are caused by a high fever or other illnesses such as diabetes .
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.