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What is Epilepsia?



Epilepsy is a prolonged and continuous chronic disorder which is categorized by seizures. Seizures are nothing but electrical instabilities in the brain.  The persons suffering from epilepsy have more than one type of seizure whiich can lead to other types of neurological problems too.

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According to a World Health Organisation report, about 50 Million people suffer from the grave problem of epilepsy and about which 90 per cent of these people reside in developing countries. It is also debated that does epilepsy have a direct relationship with the nutrition intake of the person. As malnutrition is a key factor observed in the developing countries, epilepsy is also high.

Epilepsy is classified as:


  • Intrinsic Epilepsy – It is also referred to as primary or idiopathic epilepsy. It is independent epilepsy which is not acquired through a neurological disease. It just has a genetic cause
  • Acquired Epilepsy– It is also called the secondary epilepsy which is caused by a prenatal complication or a traumatic brain injury due to an accident, a stroke or a tumor or a cerebrovascular disease.
  • Generalized or mixed epilepsy – This involves electrical instabilities in many areas of the brain
  • Focal Epilepsy – This causes seizures due to the instability caused only in one part of the brain.

Epilepsy is a two way street. It is believed that epilepsy is caused by the presence of seizures in the body but if a person has seizures, it does not necessarily mean that he is suffering from epilepsy.


  • Confusion
  • Muscle jerks
  • Staring spells
  • Loss of awareness
  • Disturbances in mood  and mental functions

The level of seizures can classify the severity of epilepsy and can further lead to severe symptoms.

Diagnosis & tests

Electroencephalogram, commonly known as EEG is the first scan which can identify the abnormalities in the brain activities due to seizures. EEG also helps in ruling out narcolepsy which can be caused due to similar seizures. Other than EEG, PET, MRI and CT scans are also useful for observing the structure of the brain and to map the damaged areas of the brain.

Treatment & medication

Seizures cause convulsions. Thus, a doctor first prescribes anticonvulsant drugs which are the most essential for the treatment of Epilepsy.

It is a market research which is seen that about two-thirds of patients respond to any drug while the one – thirds of the patents is drug resistant.

Surgery is a viable option only where the seizures are caused by a focal point such as in focal epilepsy. As this is a controlled region and doctors can suspect the area which is exposed, the part of the brain can be removed. But it is a very careful procedure as vital functions such as speech, language or hearing can be disrupted due to an operation gone wrong.

A recent development in the treatment of Neurology is Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy for patients who can’t control the frequency of seizures through medicines. It is done by surgically implanting a battery operated neurostimulator which acts like a heart pacemaler to deliver electrical stimulation to the targeted areas of the brain.

Lifestyle Management

Epilepsy is a life changing disease where people can fall down, hit their head or even drown while swimming. It is a rare but possible condition when people with epilepsy can die in their sleep. This condition is called SUDEP (sudden unexplained death in epilepsy). Lastly, some people can commit suicide due to the mood swings.

But it is not the end of the World, epilepsy patients can still lead a normal and a happy life by educating themselves and the people around them.

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