Epilepsy - Overview

Health Window logoEpilepsy is a condition that causes disruption within the brain and causes individual to have “fits”. Regardless of the type of seizure, living with epilepsy can affect a person’s life in many ways.

WHAT IS A SEIZURE (FIT)?
This is abnormal and excessive electrical activity in the brain. This presents in the form of changes in awareness, behavior, and/or abnormal movements. This activity usually lasts only a few seconds to minutes.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms in epilepsy can be divided into 3 groups: seizure types, seizure triggers and post seizure symptoms.

Seizure types — One of the most common seizure types is a convulsion. With this type of seizure, a person may stiffen and have jerking movements throughout the entire body. These are called “Grand mal” seizures. Other seizure types are less dramatic. Shaking movements may be isolated to one arm or part of the face. On the other hand, it could just be suddenly stop responding and stare for a few seconds, sometimes with chewing motions or smacking  of the lips.
Seizures may also cause "sensations" that only the person feels. An example of this is a type of seizure that causes stomach discomfort, fear, or an unpleasant smell. Such feelings are referred to as auras. A person usually experiences the same symptoms with each aura. Sometimes, an aura comes just before convulsions start.

Seizure triggers — A very small group of people have seizure triggers, such a specific emotions, intense exercise, loud music, or flashing lights. When these triggers happen, a seizure usually follows.

Post seizure symptoms (also known as postictal state) - This period right after a seizure comes with certain symptoms. For example, you may have some behavioral changes or mild to severe weakness in a hand, arm, or leg. Additionally, people have difficulty speaking or experience some loss of vision or other types of sensory loss. These can be important in figuring out what type of seizure and which part of the brain has been affected during the seizure.

It is important to take your medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you have been on treatment for a while, the number of seizures that you have can decrease significantly. This might tempt you to stop taking your medication, particularly if you are struggling with some of the side effects. You should never stop your medication, or decrease the dose, without talking to your doctor first.

 

Written by Dr Ruusa Shivute | Health Window

Reference: Thijs RD, Surges R, O'Brien TJ, Sander JW. Epilepsy in adults. Lancet. 2019 Feb 16;393(10172):689-701


Content Disclaimer:
You understand and acknowledge that all users of the Dis-Chem website or app are responsible for their own medical care, treatment, and oversight. All of the content provided on the website, are for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content is not intended to establish a standard of care to be followed by a user of the website. You understand and acknowledge that you should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health. You also understand and acknowledge that you should never disregard or delay seeking medical advice relating to treatment or standard of care because of information contained in or transmitted through the website. Medical information changes constantly. Therefore the information on this website or on the linked websites should not be considered current, complete or exhaustive, nor should you rely on such information to recommend a course of treatment for you or any other individual. Reliance on any information provided on this website or any linked websites is solely at your own risk.
Back to top