If you are dealing with epilepsy from childhood is when most epilepsy starts. The sudden onset of epilepsy in adulthood has a rather different significance.
Causes of Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a disorder that causes periodic seizures, and they occur when the normal electrical impulses in the brain are disturbed. It usually develops in children, sometimes runs in families and is often outgrown about 3 to 5 percent of children under the age of 6 have an occasional convulsion. But nearly all of these are harmless febrile convulsions. When the electrical fault in the brain is caused by a high temperature preceding or during an infectious illness such as the flu! There is the possibility of adult-onset epilepsy being a symptom of a brain tumor. Something that is very rare indeed in childhood epilepsy.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES?
Moreover, Epileptic seizures may be generalized or partial, depending on how much of the brain is affected by abnormal electrical. Therefore, during a generalized seizure, all parts of the brain are affected at the same time, while during a limited seizure only one part of the brain is affected.
Generalized seizures can be further divided into either grand mal seizures, with a fit and sleepiness afterward, or absence seizures, also known as petit mal activity.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
First, there can be a warning of an attack, known as an aura, which lasts for a few seconds and maybe a feeling of unease, a smell, a taste, a feeling of déjà vu.
During the first 30 seconds of a seizure, there’s stiffening of the body and irregular breathing, followed by random movements of the limbs and trunk.
There may be involuntary urination.
If the muscles of the jaw are involved there may be frothing at the mouth. After the seizure, consciousness is regained, breathing returns to normal, and muscles relax, Confusion and disorientation may last for a few hours afterward, and a headache may develop. There is usually have no memory of what has happened.
Status epilepticus is a very rare and serious complication in which a person whose epilepsy is not adequately controlled has repeated grand mal seizures without regaining consciousness in between each seizure. The life-threatening, and medical help is urgent.
ABSENCE SEIZURES -There is no real loss of consciousness but the loss of touch with surroundings, leading to a daydream-like state lasting between 5 and 30 seconds from which the child cannot be roused.
The eyes may remain open and fixed. Since the seizures are almost never associated with falling down or other abnormal movements, they may not be noticed or may be confused with daydreaming. However, frequent attacks can affect school performance.
SHOULD I CONSULT WITH THE DOCTOR?
Consult your doctor as soon as any convulsion has passed, whether you think it is a grand mal seizure or a febrile convulsion. Consult your doctor as soon as possible if you think your child has absence seizures.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?
- If your child has had a convulsion your doctor will examine him and question you about the attack to help determine what form of seizure your child has experienced.
- Your doctor may arrange tests to look for an underlying cause of the seizure. If there is no cause is found look for abnormal electrical activity in the brain and if necessary CT scanning or MRI of the brain.
- If your child has had recurrent seizures, whether they are grand mal or absence seizures, he will probably be treated with anticonvulsant drugs.
- These are usually prescribed in gradually increasing doses until the seizures are controlled. Occasionally, a second anticonvulsant may be needed.
- Your child’s condition will be reviewed periodically by a paediatrician. If there are no seizures for 2-3 years drug treatment reduced or even stopped. However, any changes in dosage should be carried out only under medical supervision.
- People who develop status epileptics need to be admitted to the hospital without delay where intravenous drugs will be given to control the seizures.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
It can be a shock to realize that has epilepsy. Both you and your child will need to get your confidence back. You can do this through your doctor who can advise coping with the seizures, and there are self-help groups who are very supportive.
Make a note of the frequency of your child’s your child you how absence seizures so that you can tell your doctor.
Watch mental or personality differences which may be the result of the drugs. It is important that your child’s medication is given in the proper you can tell your child carefully and report and your doctor amounts so as not to cause any undesirable side effects.
Treat your child as normally as possible. Tell his friends and teachers about the condition so that they will not be frightened and shocked if your child has a convulsion in their presence.
Have a bracelet or medallion engraved with information about your child’s epilepsy and in case of an attack when you are not there, and make sure your child wears it all the time.
If your child is prescribed anticonvulsant drugs, do not stop them without medical advice. To do so could cause a severe, prolonged convulsion after a few days. – Teach your child to recognize the signs of an attack (aura).
If your child is old enough to identify these sensations as warning signs, he may be able to avoid having an accident.
WHAT IS THE OUTLOOK?
About I in 3 people who have a single seizure will have another one within two years. The risk of recurrent seizures is highest during the first few weeks. However, the prognosis for most people with epilepsy is good and more than 7 to 10 people go into long-term remission within 10 years.
Self-Help – Living
If you have recently been diagnosed as having epilepsy, the following points may be helpful:
Avoid anything that has previously triggered or may trigger a seizure such as flashing lights.
Learn relaxation exercises to help you cope with stress, which may trigger seizures.
Try to eat at regular times.
Avoid drinking too much alcohol.
Check with your doctor before taking medications that may interact with anticonvulsant drugs.
Make sure that you have someone with you if you are going swimming or playing any water sports.
If you drive, you must stop driving and inform the DVLA of your epilepsy. You will have to surrender your license, but you can reapply for it after one year without a seizure. If you plan to apply for a driving license, talk to your doctor first.
Consult your doctor if you are planning a pregnancy.