Epilepsy, or commonly known as a seizure disorder is a serious and dangerous condition wherein a person experiences sudden, uncontrollable electrical activity in the brain. The disorder affects the way a person feels or acts during the activity and typically goes numb. Every year, millions of people are diagnosed with this central nervous system disorder, which causes the onset of seizures. Believe it or not, epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological condition after stroke, migraine, and Alzheimer’s.
1. One in every 25 people worldwide suffers from Seizures.
As a matter of proven fact, a person can experience a seizure without having epilepsy, but one cannot have epilepsy without having seizures. A seizure can last from a couple of seconds to a few minutes, depending upon the severity of the disorder. According to a report published by one of the leading medical associations of the world, one in every 25 people experience a seizure at least once in their lifetime. While some are able to control the condition to a great extent, some lose their lives to this fatal disease.
2. Several Types Exist
Several types of seizures are recognized by medical science. However, these types are broadly classified into two primary groups:
- Primary generalized seizures: They typically affect both sides of the brain, in a widespread area.
- Partial seizures: They affect small areas of the brain first and then rapidly spread to other parts becoming widespread in nature.
Some of these types are hardly noticeable, while many others are quite dramatic and instantly showcase their presence. Typical symptoms of epilepsy include rapid blinking, simply staring at a particular thing, feeling extremely confused for a couple of minutes, losing consciousness, and experience jerky muscle contractions.
3. Many lifestyle disorders can cause Epilepsy
Certain things like low blood sugar levels, excess consumption of alcohol, sudden withdrawal from drug intake, high fever or recently experienced concussion classify as lifestyle activities which can trigger epilepsy. Apart from these, other factors which can cause the onset of this fatal condition are as follow:
- Oxygen deprivation while giving birth to a child
- Brain infections, including encephalitis, cysticercosis, and meningitis
- A traumatic head or brain injury
- Heart stroke
- Neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, etc.
- Presence of a tumor in the brain
- Some specific genetic disorders
4. Some Causes of Epilepsy are Preventable.
As stated above, epilepsy can be caused by a variety of conditions. Many a times, physicians are unable to define the exact cause as well. However, the list of these stated causes, which includes heart stroke, traumatic brain injuries, certain types of brain-related infections, and pregnancy complications can be easily prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle. This, in turn, means that epilepsy too can be prevented to a great extent.
5. Epilepsy related Risk Factors
There are a number of risk factors which increase a person’s chances of suffering from epilepsy. Some of these are as follows:
- Brain Infections
- Childhood Seizures
- Family History
- Head Injuries
- Vascular Disease
6. These Epilepsy Preventive Measures are Highly Effective.
- Prenatal care: Avoiding any complications during pregnancy and childbirth by taking proper care of the mother can significantly reduce her chances of suffering from epilepsy.
- Vaccinations: Medical science has developed special vaccinations to prevent epilepsy. Immunizing children at an early age can reduce their risk of developing this fatal disorder.
- Proper Safety Measures: Children and adults alike, must adhere to proper safety rules and regulations to prevent any kind of traumatic brain and head injuries, especially when plying on the roads.
- Reduce the risk of Stroke: Exercising, keeping one’s blood pressure in control, maintaining a healthy weight, lowing bad cholesterol components in the body and eating healthy are some smart ways to prevent a stroke.
7. There are Ways to Treat Epilepsy.
Over the years, physicians and scientists have developed smarted ways to treat seizures and epilepsy. These treatment options include:
- Medications: Depending upon the severity of one’s condition, physicians usually try and treat the condition by using certain specific medications. For most of the people, the drugs work and their seizures tend to stop. In some rare cases, medication work on a partial basis only. They are recommended other seizure-preventing treatments.
- Surgery: If seizures take place in a very specific region of the brain, physicians often recommend a surgery to remove the area that’s most affected by the condition.
- Other Treatments: In case the other options fail, treatments like nerve stimulation and special diets are used for controlling seizures.
8. Women can have a harder time with epilepsy.
Pregnancy and hormonal changes can increase the chances of a woman to experience epilepsy. Pregnant women must take extra care of themselves and closely work with their gynecologists. Frequent seizures and related medications can sometimes harm a developing baby.
9. Epilepsy can be Fatal.
When the episodes of epilepsy increase, showcasing signs of a more serious underlying condition, it automatically increases a person’s risk of losing his/her life. Individuals who suffer from major seizures and often loss of consciousness can severely injure themselves. Long or rapid epilepsy successions can be really dangerous.
10. Do not Eat or Drink Something while Having a Seizure.
Trying to make a person eat or drink something while he/she is having a seizure can injure their jaw, chip their teeth and even cut their gums. Alternatively, roll them on either side to protect them from unknown injuries.
11. Epilepsy is not Contagious.
A person cannot get epilepsy from another person. However, anyone and everyone can develop the condition. Elderly people, typically above the age of 65, are often at a higher risk of suffering from seizures than younger adults. There is also no cure available with medical science for epilepsy.
12. Everyone is born with a Seizure Threshold.
People with a higher threshold are less likely to develop epilepsy as compared to the ones with a lesser capacity. However, certain activities or things, can lower one’s threshold. These include, stress, excessive consumption of alcohol, certain types of illnesses, flickering lights, sleep deprivation, and hormones.
13. Seizures have a beginning, middle, and an end.
- The beginning, or otherwise termed as the aura, typically showcases the signs of an oncoming seizure, such as smells, tastes, lightheadedness, sounds, or deja and jamais vu.
- The middle is the main phase when a seizure occurs.
- The end is known as the postictal phase wherein the brain starts recovering from the seizure. This phase can take anywhere from a couple of seconds to hours, and it is usually accompanied by loss of memory and disorientation.
14. Epilepsy is usually not a Lifelong Disorder
Studies and surveys state that only 25 percent of people with epilepsy experience seizures throughout their lives. Most people, with the help of medications, are able to control the condition and lead a happy, normal life.
15. Episodes of Epilepsy are Stereotypical.
While different people experience different types of seizures during an epilepsy episode, most of them are stereotypical in nature. This means that the same behavior or things tend to occur in a person each time he/she has a seizure.