On 12:10 PM by NY Drs. Urgent Care
Last month (November) was Epilepsy Awareness Month. Epilepsy is a neurological condition, which affects the nervous system. Epilepsy is also known as a seizure disorder. It is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures that were not caused by some known medical condition like alcohol withdrawal or extremely low blood sugar. Sometimes, according to the International League Against Epilepsy, epilepsy can be diagnosed after one seizure, if a person has a condition that places them at high risk for having another.
The seizures in epilepsy may be related to a brain injury or a family tendency, but most of the time the cause is unknown. The word "epilepsy" does not indicate anything about the cause of the person's seizures, what type they are, or how severe they are.
Types of seizures
There are three types of diagnoses a doctor might make when treating a patient with epilepsy:
Idiopathic - this means there is no apparent cause.
Cryptogenic - this means the doctor thinks there is most probably a cause, but cannot pinpoint it.
Symptomatic - this means that the doctor knows what the cause is.
There are three descriptions of seizures, depending on what part of the brain the epileptic activity started:
Partial seizure - this means the epileptic activity took place in just part of the patient's brain. There are two types of Partial Seizures:
Simple Partial Seizure - the patient is conscious during the seizure. In most cases the patient is also aware of his/her surroundings, even though the seizure is in progress.
Complex Partial Seizure - the patient's consciousness is impaired. The patient will generally not remember the seizure, and if he/she does, the recollection of it will be vague.
Generalized Seizure - both halves of the brain have epileptic activity. The patient's consciousness is lost while the seizure is in progress.
Secondary Generalized Seizure - the epileptic activity started as a partial seizure, but then it spread to both halves of the brain. As this development happens, the patient loses consciousness.
What are the symptoms of epilepsy?
The main symptoms of epilepsy are repeated seizures. There are some symptoms which may indicate a person has epilepsy. If one or more of these symptoms are present a medical exam is advised, especially if they recur:
- A convulsion with no temperature (no fever).
- Short spells of blackout, or confused memory.
- Intermittent fainting spells, during which bowel or bladder control is lost. This is frequently followed by extreme tiredness.
- For a short period the person is unresponsive to instructions or questions.
- The person becomes stiff, suddenly, for no obvious reason
- The person suddenly falls for no clear reason
- Sudden bouts of blinking without apparent stimuli
- Sudden bouts of chewing, without any apparent reason
- For a short time the person seems dazed, and unable to communicate
- Peculiar changes in senses, such as smell, touch and sound; to name a few.
For more information on Epilepsy, you can go HERE to the National Epilepsy Website.
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