Epilepsy – Quick Facts You Should Know

In a world where there is a lot of misinformation about epilepsy, epileptic patients are stigmatized and are also denied some human rights. It is vital to know about the disease as it is a really common occurrence.

Epilepsy is a non-communicable disease (cannot be transmitted from a patient to an healthy person) in which there is abnormal brain activity. It is associated with recurrent seizure (mostly presenting as vigorous shaking) followed by unconsciousness.

It is also important to know that a onetime seizure doesn’t make an individual epileptic. In fact, a significant number of individuals had slight seizures as babies mostly as a result of fever.

Causes

In about 50% of cases cases, the cause is unknown. However, its causes are classified as

  • Structural – Due to head injury or a tumor
  • Genetic – Some birth defects especially in the brain that are inherited
  • Infectious – Infections that reach the brain
  • Metabolic – Example low blood sugar or low blood PH
  • Immune – when the bodies immune system attacks body cells especially in the brain
  • Unknown

Signs and symptoms

Seizures are the most common symptom, they vary and the frequency is widely dependent on the severity of brain damage. Some symptoms include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Uncoordinated body movements (can lead to physical injury)
  • Temporal lack of sensation
  • Temporal inhibition of movement
  • Change in mood and other cognitive functions
  • Depression, anxiety etc.

Handling an epileptic episode

As a non-medical professional, the best line of action is to help the individual lie in a position where they don’t get injured due to the uncoordinated body movement.

They can then be taken to the hospital, however most of such episodes end on their own after a few minutes.

One commonly held belief is putting a spoon in the patient’s mouth so the upper and lower teeth don’t come together. This to believed to stop the episodes or prevent the patient from dying but this is not backed by science.

Can the disease be prevented?

Yes, it can.

In fact, 25% of epileptic cases can be prevented or avoided through the following:

  • Adequate prenatal care to prevent cases caused by birth injury
  • Prevention of head injury
  • Taking care of the cardiovascular health by reducing the risk factors of cardio vascular diseases such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure etc.
  • Practicing good environmental hygiene so as to eliminate parasites that can cause some central nervous systems infection.

Treatment options exist in the form of medications and surgery, it all depends on the severity and the causes.

In conclusion persons with epilepsy can enjoy quality lives when they get the needed treatment.

Sunday Oluchi Goodness