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All about epilepsy seizures types of epilepsy common types of epilepsy types of seizures causes of epilepsy causes of children epilepsy factors triggering epilepsy symptoms of epilepsy diagnosis of epilepsy treatments for epilepsy epilepsy medications epilepsy surgery vagus nerve stimulation epilepsy diet prevention of epilepsy epilepsy in children pregnancy and epilepsy difference between seizures and epilepsy grand mal seizure absence seizure (petit mal seizure) febrile seizure epileptic seizures status epilepticus causes of seizures

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a general term that includes various types of seizures. People with diagnosed epilepsy have had more than one seizure, and they may have had more than one kind of seizure. A seizure happens when abnormal electrical activity in the brain causes an involuntary change in body movement or function, sensation, awareness, or behavior.

Epilepsy is characterized by unprovoked, recurring seizures that disrupt the nervous system and can cause mental and physical dysfunction. In the US, more than 2.3 million people are affected by seizures, and an estimated 3% of the population (about 7.2 million people) will experience at least one seizure during their lifetime. (This does not count the 5% of children who have seizures caused by fevers.) It affects all age groups. About 14% of epilepsy patients are under 15 years old and 24% are over 64, with 62% being between those ages. Every year between 25,000 and 40,000 American children have a first seizure that is unrelated to a fever. Epilepsy is decreasing in childhood but increasing in the elderly, probably because of mild strokes and cardiac arrest.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects people in every country throughout the world. Epilepsy is also one of the oldest conditions known to mankind. It is characterized by a tendency to recurrent seizures and it defined by two or more unprovoked seizures. The belief widely held in many countries is that a person with epilepsy is seized by a supernatural force or power. This ancient belief is reflected in the name of the disorder -- the word "epilepsy" being derived from the Greek word "epilambanein" which means "to seize or attack". We now know, however, that seizures are the result of sudden, usually brief, excessive electrical discharges in a group of brain cells (neurones) and that different parts of the brain can be the site of such discharges. The clinical manifestations of seizures will therefore vary and depend on where in the brain the disturbance first starts and how far it spreads. Transient symptoms can occur, such as loss of awareness or consciousness and disturbances of movement, sensation (including vision, hearing and taste), mood or mental function.

Epilepsy is also known as a seizure disorder because the tendency is to have recurrent seizures. Epileptic seizures vary in severity and frequency, and even in the time of day they occur. While some people may experience no more than two or three seizures during their entire lifetime, others will have several seizures in one day. An epileptic seizure occurs when these energy pulses come much more rapidly-as many as 500 per second for a short time-due to an electrical abnormality in the brain. This brief electrical surge can happen in just a small area of the brain, or it can affect the whole brain.

More information on epilepsy (seizures)

What is epilepsy? - Epilepsy is a general term that includes various types of seizures. Epilepsy is characterized by unprovoked, recurring seizures that disrupt the nervous system.
What are seizures? - Seizures (or convulsions) are temporary alterations in brain functions due to abnormal electrical activity of a group of brain cells that present with apparent clinical symptoms and findings.
What types of seizures are there? - The two main categories of seizures include partial seizures and generalized seizures. A partial seizure can evolve to a generalized seizure.
What types of epilepsy are there? - There are several types of epilepsy. Epilepsy can be divided into two broad categories: idiopathic epilepsy and symptomatic epilepsy.
What're the common types of epilepsy? - The most common types of epilepsy are absence epilepsy, temporal lobe epilepsy, frontal lobe epilepsy, occipital lobe epilepsy, and parietal lobe epilepsy.
What causes epilepsy? - Epilepsy may be caused by a number of unrelated conditions, including damage resulting from high fever, stroke, toxicity, or electrolyte imbalances.
What causes children epilepsy? - There are many possible causes of epilepsy in children. Seizures in infants and children may be due to birth defects, difficulties during delivery, or poisoning.
What factors will trigger epilepsy? - The triggers of epilepsy include inadequate sleep, food allergies, alcohol and smoking, flashing lights, developmental anomalies, and brain tumours.
What're the symptoms of epilepsy? - There are many forms of epilepsy, each with its own characteristic symptoms. The basic symptom of epilepsy is a brief and abnormal phase of behavior.
How is epilepsy diagnosed? - Making an accurate diagnosis is vital in planning the correct treatment to control seizures. Taking a medical history can help rule out non-epilepsy conditions.
What're the treatments for epilepsy? - For most people with epilepsy, treatment can reduce or prevent seizures and allow many patients to remain free of seizures for the rest of their lives.
What epilepsy medications are available? - Epilepsy is often treated with medication, neurocybernetic prostheses. Medications available for the treatment of seizures include phenytoin, carbamazepine, divalproex.
What epilepsy surgeries are available? - Surgical techniques to remove injured brain tissue may be appropriate for many patients with epilepsy. The most common surgery for epilepsy is temporal lobectomy.
What is vagus nerve stimulation? - Vagus nerve stimulation is a recently developed form of seizure control which uses an implanted electrical device.
What epilepsy diet is suggested? - It is believe that a restricted caloric intake while on a balanced diet can lead to measurable seizure reduction among all age groups.
How to prevent epilepsy? - Effective actions for the prevention of epilepsy include adequate pre-natal and post-natal care, safe delivery, control of fever in children, control of parasitic diseases.
Epilepsy in children - Epilepsy is a common childhood disorder. The prospect of control by means of anti-epileptic drugs is good in most children with epilepsy.
Pregnancy and epilepsy - Women with epilepsy who become pregnant have a higher risk for complications than women who don't have epilepsy.
Difference between seizures and epilepsy - Seizures are a symptom of epilepsy. Epilepsy is the underlying tendency of the brain to produce a sudden burst of electrical energy.
What's a grand mal seizure? - A grand mal seizure is a seizure involving the entire body, usually characterized by muscle rigidity, violent rhythmic muscle contractions, and loss of consciousness.
What's absence seizure (petit mal seizure)? - Absence seizure e - also known as petit mal seizure - is a type of seizure that most often occurs in children.
What is a febrile seizure? - A febrile seizure is a convulsion in a child triggered by a fever. A febrile seizure may be as mild as the child's eyes rolling or limbs stiffening.
What are epileptic seizures? - An epileptic seizure, often referred to as a fit, occurs when there is an abnormal discharge of neurones in the brain.
What is status epilepticus? - Status epilepticus is a continuous seizure state. Status epilepticus is most often caused by not taking anticonvulsant medication as prescribed.
What causes seizures? - Seizures may be caused by many conditions, diseases, injuries, and other factors. Injuries that may cause seizures include choking, head injury.
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