What is Epilepsy?
A neurological disorder presented in the form of sudden regular episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, convulsions, associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain. About 3-5 % people can have epileptic attack in their lifetime. Any one from New-born to old age could be victims of Epilepsy.
Reasons for Epilepsy
Epilepsy is the abnormal/excessive electrical activity in the brain which usually last for few seconds. Head injury due to accident can cause epilepsy. Brain conditions that cause damage to the brain, such as brain tumours or strokes, can cause epilepsy. Stroke is a leading cause of epilepsy in adults over 35 years
Types of Epilepsy
Patient will loudly cry with loss of consciousness stiffness in hands and legs will fall down then trembles aggressively and regularly. There could be frothing in mouth with involuntary passing of urine and stool. Once the attack is over in couple of minutes the person wakes up confused and unaware of the attack.
In this type, the affected child becomes blank and unaware of the surroundings for a few seconds. The child does not fall down or does not have abnormal movement when one part of the brain is the culprit causing epilepsy. Opposite hand/leg/face starts convulsing (simple seizure) may be associated with loss of consciousness and major convulsions mentioned above.
Most important feature needed to diagnose the epileptic condition is the detail description from the eye witness who has seen the episodes of convulsion. Detail physical examination is essential. Electroencephalography (EEG) is the recording of the brain electrical activity using surface electrodes placed over the scalp and helps to identify characteristics of abnormal electrical discharges arising from the brain. Different types of epilepsy have specific changes in the EEG brain imaging with CT scan or MRI is needed to look for the irritative lesion that could cause the convulsion.
Majority of the patients with epilepsy achieve complete control of the attacks with the use of appropriate medications under the advice of Neurologists or Physicians. However, these drugs need to be taken for a few years and should not be stopped without advice. The person with epilepsy can pursue most of the activities including education, sports, family. He/she can pursue jobs that not involve dangerous equipment. Driving and swimming are to be avoided.
FIRST Aid in case of Epilepsy
1. Most of the attacks resolve in few minutes
2. Be cool, calm, do not panic and never surround patient.
3. Shift the patient if he is in danger position
4. Turn the patient to side
5. Do not force metal or any other objects into the mouth
6. If a patient does not gain consciousness shift to hospital
7. Do not hold the patient tight and try to stop fits.
8. Onion, Iron or any other objects should be avoided and will not stop fits.
Dr. Saroja A O
Consultant Neurologist, KLES Dr. Prabhakar Kore Hospital & MRC Belagavi.
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