Epilepsy is a common condition that affects the brain and leads to seizures. Although this condition can affect people of any age; it is most common to start at a young age or when you are over the age of 60. For most patients this will be a lifelong condition, however in some cases it may get better over time.
In most cases it is unclear why this is happening, however it is now thought that it could be caused by the genes affecting the way your brain works as around 1 in 3 suffers will also have a family member that has epilepsy as well.
A seizure is a burst of electrical activity in the brain that causes temporary changes in the way that it works. The symptoms that are associated with epilepsy can differ with every case as they will usually depend on the area of brain that is affected. Here are some of the possible symptoms that patients can experience:
Jerking or shaking that is uncontrollable (fit)
Staring in to space or becoming less aware
Altered sensation: unusual tastes or smells or tingling in the arms or legs
Passing out and not remembering what has happened
If you have a seizure for the first time then you must seek medical care. If you have a seizure for the first time this does not mean that you are epileptic; sometimes they are just one-offs, but it is important to have this checked.
When treating epilepsy, the aim is to reduce the number of seizures that someone is having or, ideally, to completely stop the seizures. Some patients will have to have treatment for the rest of their life whereas some can stop after a period of time if the seizures go away. Here are some of the most common treatments that are used to treat epilepsy:
Anti-epileptic drugs- this is the most common form of treatment
Surgery- this can be done to remove a small part of the brain that is linked to the seizures
Electrical device- this can be placed inside the body to help control seizures
Although epilepsy is a lifelong condition for many patients, with the correct treatment they are still able to live a normal live and participate in day to day activities.
This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.