Epilepsy, also called seizure disorder or temporal lobe epilepsy, is a brain disorder occurring in people that have repeated seizures over a period of time. Seizures occur when the brain activity will cause a variety of change sin attention of a person and their behavior. Someone with epilepsy often experiences frequent seizures that can occur at any time, without advanced warning. During the seizure, the person might temp9orarily lose consciousness or control over their body and movements. It is not uncommon for someone with epilepsy to have a seizure that causes them to urinate which can be very embarrassing if they were at school or work.
Causes of Epilepsy
When there are permanent changes in the brain tissue, it will send out abnormal signals. When this happens, they turn into unpredictable and repeated seizures. If someone has just one seizure that doesn’t repeat itself, it is not considered epilepsy. The exact cause of epilepsy is unknown though some people have a higher risk factor than others. Some of the conditions that have been known to exist in people with epilepsy are traumatic brain injury, dementia, stroke, infections like meningitis, AIDS or brain abscess, brain problems during birth, brain injury during or near the time of birth, brain tumor, metabolism disorders, abnormal blood vessels in the brain, some medications, or other illness that destroy or damage the brain tissue. Epilepsy can also be passed down to children.
Symptoms of Epilepsy
The symptoms of epilepsy vary greatly between people. Some people experience violent shaking, some get a loss of alertness, while others have very simple staring spells that other people might not even notice. The part of the brain affected by the epilepsy as well as the cause of the condition is what determines what kind of symptoms will be experienced. Some people have different seizures each time but will experience some of the same sensations like weird odors, emotional changes or tingling. These different types of seizures are called absence seizures, generalized tonic-clonic seizures, and partial seizures.
Your doctor will first perform a physical exam which gives them an overall look of your health, brain and nervous system. This will be followed by a series of tests including an EEG to check electrical activity in your brain, blood chemistry, blood sugar, complete blood count, kidney function test, liver function test, lumbar puncture, testing for infectious diseases, an MRI scan and a CT scan of the brain are also common.
There are many different types of treatment options available for epilepsy including surgery and medications. Surgery is more common to help with people that have bleeding in their brain, abnormal blood vessels, or tumors along with epilepsy. Medications are commonly used to help prevent seizures as well.