Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes recurrent epileptic seizures. It can also cause periods of overlapping or excessive activity in the brain. Unfortunately, the symptoms of epilepsy can be difficult to miss for those who have not had seizures or who are between seizures. In addition, there is still a stigma surrounding the condition. In the past, people thought that those who suffered from seizures may even be possessed. Often, the stigma surrounding epilepsy can be just as difficult, or even more difficult, to deal with as the symptoms of epilepsy. When patients have proper treatment, it can often help them control their seizures and lead happy and productive lives.
Most people who are not affected know little to nothing about epilepsy. By presenting more facts about epilepsy, it can help to break through the stigma. Ultimately, more people having actual knowledge can help those who suffer from the condition. Let’s look at some of the most important facts.
Although there are many still to be determined causes for seizures, we do know that it is an imbalance in the neurons firing or calming at the same time that creates the actual seizures. Most of the time, they are in balance, which allows people to function.
In addition, it is important to know that there is more than one type of seizure. The tonic-clonic seizures are the ones that most people think about when they hear the word. These cause loss of consciousness and shaking. There are also absence seizures that cause a short loss of consciousness without shaking and myoclonic seizures that are characterized by jerking muscles. There are other types of seizures, as well, including focal seizures that happen in only one part of the brain.
Not All Seizures are Epilepsy Signs
It is a myth that all people who have seizures suffer from epilepsy. This is because there are so many different reasons for seizures to occur, such as suffering from a brain tumor, not having enough sodium in the blood, and even not getting enough sleep. Patients are generally only diagnosed as having epilepsy when they have had two or more seizures, or if they have gone through a neurological test that points to epilepsy.
The Actual Causes Vary
People can develop epilepsy for many different reasons, including some reasons that are yet to be discovered. Genetics can play a role, as can brain injuries, diseases, and developmental disorders. In about half of the cases, the doctors are not able to identify a cause, which means there needs to be a substantial amount of additional research in the field.
Certain types of stimuli can also trigger those with epilepsy to have seizures. This might include taking drugs, drinking alcohol, or even music or flashing lights.
Some People Experience Auras
Auras are warning signs that some experience before they have a seizure. It might be something they see visually, a strange smell or taste, or a strong emotional feeling of terror or happiness. These are considered focal seizures that could indicate a larger seizure is coming.
These are just some of the most important things that people should know regarding epilepsy. Whether you know someone with epilepsy or not, it is important for people to educate themselves to help erase the stigma.