Epilepsy is a central nervous system (neurological) disorder in which the brain activity becomes abnormal causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations and even loss of awareness at times.
Epilepsy can affect males and females and anyone from any race, background or age group. Seizure disorders are characterized by unpredictable seizures and can cause additional health problems.
This chronic disorder is often diagnosed after someone has two unprovoked seizures that were not caused by low blood sugar, alcohol withdrawal or another medical condition.
Because the condition is caused by abnormal brain activity, seizures can affect any process your brain coordinates.
If you are unsure of whether or not you’re experiencing a seizure, some common symptoms include:
- Temporary confusion
- Odd staring spell
- Unprompted and uncontrollable jerking of the arms and legs
- Loss of consciousness or awareness
- Experience of anxiety, fear, deja vu
Doctors often classify seizure types as focal or generalized, based on how the abnormal brain activity begins. Focal (or partial) seizures appear to result from abnormal activity in just one area of the brain. If all areas of the brains are involved, the seizures are called generalized.
Epilepsy is usually treated with medications, however, surgery or other treatments can sometimes be offered.
With anti-seizure medications, a person with epilepsy can become seizure-free or decrease the frequency or severity of the seizures to live a much easier life. The medications can sometimes be discontinued on the advice of a doctor after two or more years without seizures.
Doctors will review your medical history, type and frequency of seizures and other factors when choosing which anti-seizure medication(s) to prescribe. They will also check whether or not the medications you’re on will interact negatively with the anti-epileptic medications.
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