Epilepsy is a chronic illness that results in recurrent seizures as a result of aberrant electrical impulses sent by damaged brain cells. A seizure is brought on by an uncontrolled electrical surge within brain cells. Changes in awareness, muscle control (your muscles may twitch or jerk), sensations, emotions, and behavior can all occur during seizures.
Another name for epilepsy is seizure disorder.
Recurrent seizures are epilepsy’s primary symptom. However, depending on the kind of seizure you have, your symptoms change.
- A brief loss of consciousness or awareness.
- Loss of muscular tone, jerks, and uncontrolled muscle movements.
- A vacant or “staring into space” expression.
- Temporary disorientation, delayed thinking, communication and comprehension issues.
- Modifications in taste, smell, hearing, vision, or sensations of tingling or numbness.
- Communication or understanding issues.
- Goosebumps, waves of heat or cold and upset stomach.
- Lip-smacking, chewing gestures, hand and finger rubbing.
- Psychic sensations such as anxiety, déjà vu, terror, or dread.
- A faster breathing or heart rate.
Genetics: Some epilepsy varieties, such as juvenile myoclonic epilepsy and childhood absence epilepsy, are more likely to be passed down via families. Although there is some evidence that certain genes are involved, according to researchers, the genes simply raise the chance of epilepsy and other factors may also be at play. Some epilepsy can cause aberrant brain signals and seizures because of abnormalities that impair how brain cells can communicate with one another.
Head injuries: Head injuries can result from vehicular accidents, falls or any blow to the head.
Brain infections: Infections can include brain abscess, meningitis, encephalitis and neurocysticercosis.
Immune disorders: Conditions that cause your immune system to attack brain cells (also called autoimmune diseases) can lead to epilepsy.
Developmental disorders: A common cause of epilepsy, especially in those whose seizures are not managed by anti-seizure drugs, is birth defects affecting the brain. Focal cortical dysplasia, polymicrogyria, and tuberous sclerosis are a few congenital defects that have been linked to epilepsy. There are other more brain abnormalities known to result in epilepsy.
Metabolic disorders: People with a metabolic condition (how your body obtains energy for normal functions) can have epilepsy.
Brain conditions and brain vessel abnormalities: Brain tumors, strokes, dementia, and irregular blood arteries like arteriovenous malformations are just a few conditions that can affect the health of the brain and lead to epilepsy.
Despite the fact that many causes of epilepsy are uncontrollable and unavoidable, you can lessen your risk of getting some illnesses, such as:
To lower your risk of traumatic brain injury: (from blows to your head), always wear your seatbelt when driving and drive “defensively”; wear a helmet when biking; clear your floors of clutter and power cords to prevent falls; and stay off ladders.
To lower your risk of stroke: eat a healthy diet (such as the Mediterranean diet), maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly.
Seek therapy for substance abuse: Alcohol and other illegal drugs can damage your brain, which can then lead to epilepsy.