Epilepsy is a disorder in the central nervous system characterized by recurrent seizures. An unexpected rush of electrical activity inside the brain leads to a seizure. Brain activity becomes abnormal and leads to periods of unusual behaviour with loss of awareness at times.
Seizures do not always include unusual muscle movements or convulsions. Untreated seizures can seriously affect the lives of children having them. Epilepsy affects both men and women regardless of their ethnic background and age.
Signs of Epilepsy:
- A staring spell
- Momentary bewilderment
- Loss of consciousness
- Jerking movements of arms and legs.
- Panic or anxiety
Kinds of Seizures:
Seizures are normally classified as focal or generalized depending on the commencement of abnormal brain activity.
- Focal (partial) seizures result from abnormal activity in a particular area of the person’s brain. Simple partial seizures may change emotions or the way things smell, appear, feel, sound or taste. It is characterized by tingling and dizziness.
- Complex partial seizures or focal seizures with impaired awareness entail a modification of or loss of awareness and consciousness. Repetitive movements are performed during such seizures such as hand rubbing, walking in circles or swallowing.
Thorough testing is needed to differentiate epilepsy from other neurological disorders such as narcolepsy, migraine or mental illness.
- Tonic seizures lead to muscle stiffness and normally affects muscles in the person’s back, legs and arms.
- Atonic seizures or drop seizures lead to a loss of muscle control which makes a person abruptly collapse or fall down.
- Myoclonic seizures are visible as short jerks or twitches of a person’s arms and legs.
- Clonic seizures are characterized by repetitive or rhythmic jerking muscle movements.
- Tonic-clonic seizures cause sudden loss of consciousness, quivering and body stiffening.
- Absence seizures might take place in clusters and lead to momentary loss of awareness.
Symptoms of Epilepsy:
The main symptoms of epilepsy are seizures and it differs from one person to another.
Symptoms of Focal (partial) seizures include:
- Change or modification in the sense of smell, taste, hearing, sight or touch.
- Twitching and tingling of limbs.
Symptoms of Complex partial seizures include:
- Staring blankly
- Performing repetitive movements
- Loss of awareness or consciousness
Genetics may provide a person with a natural seizure threshold as a person who is susceptible to seizure triggers is said to have inherited a low seizure threshold. A higher threshold conversely makes a person less liable to have seizures.
Epilepsy is a comparatively common neurological disorder that affects innumerable people worldwide and treatments range from medication to surgery.
Source: Lybrate.com writen by Dr. M. Hembram