What is it?

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder of recurring seizures, resulting from abnormal electrical activity in the brain. There are many different types of epilepsy, and there are also different kinds of seizures. Note, that not every seizure is considered to be part of epilepsy (for example, febrile seizures, occurring in children during a febrile illness, are NOT considered to be epileptic seizures. Epilepsy can be caused by different conditions that affect a person’s brain, such as stroke, brain tumor, head injury, Central nervous system infection and more. However, many times the cause is unknown. Some forms of epilepsy can be dangerous and cause neurological deterioration, while others can be considerably benign. Medications (sometimes for life) can prevent seizures for the majority of people with epilepsy.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Infantile Spasms
- West Syndrome
- Grand Mal Status
- Generalized Nonconvulsive Epilepsy

Signs & symptoms

Seizure symptoms can vary widely since the way a seizure looks depends on the type of seizure a person is experiencing. Some seizures can look like staring blankly for a few seconds. Other seizures can manifest as uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs. In some cases, seizures cause loss of consciousness or awareness. Symptoms such as fear, anxiety or Deja vu may also happen. A medical examination must be obtained as soon as possible in any case of first seizure, prolonged seizure and in case of a seizure in the presence of fever, pregnancy or a significant background illness.

Diagnosis

Having a single seizure doesn't mean a person have epilepsy. Diagnosis requires at least two unprovoked seizures (meaning there is no underlying medical condition, such as a high fever, causing them). Tests used to diagnose epilepsy are:
- EEG (electroencephalogram) – This test measures electrical activity in the brain.
- imaging of the brain (CT or MRI scan)

Treatment

Epilepsy is treated with anti-seizure medicines, that help prevent seizures. In some cases (especially those that do not respond to medication) surgical procedures (such as brain surgery or vagus nerve stimulator transplantation) may be considered.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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