Epilepsy

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Overview

In epilepsy, the brain or some parts of the brain are overactive and send too many signals. This results in seizures, also referred to as epileptic fits. Seizures sometimes only cause a few muscles to twitch – but they may also cause your whole body to convulse (shake uncontrollably) and result in loss of consciousness.

Epilepsy can arise at any age. Some people already have their first seizure in childhood, and others have their first seizure in older age. There are usually no physical symptoms in between seizures. Many people worry about having another seizure, though.

Medication can help to prevent seizures and maintain a good quality of life. Unfortunately, it doesn't always help: About 3 out of 10 people still have regular seizures. This makes it particularly difficult for them to live with epilepsy.



Symptoms

Staring

Jerking movements of the arms and legs

Stiffening of the body

Loss of consciousness

Breathing problems or breathing stops

Loss of bowel or bladder control

Falling suddenly for no apparent reason, especially when associated with loss of consciousness

Not responding to noise or words for brief periods

Appearing confused or in a haze

Nodding the head rhythmically, when associated with loss of awareness or even loss of consciousness

Periods of rapid eye blinking and staring

Causes

In newborns and infants:

Birth trauma

Congenital (present at birth) problems

Fever/infection

Metabolic or chemical imbalances in the body

In children, adolescents, and young adults:

Alcohol or drugs

Trauma to the head or brain injury

Infection

Congenital conditions

Genetic factors

Unknown reasons

Other possible causes of seizures may include:

Brain tumor

Neurological problems

Drug withdrawal

Medications

Use of illicit drugs

Risk factors

Age. The onset of epilepsy is most common in children and older adults, but the condition can occur at any age.

Family history. ...

Head injuries. ...

Stroke and other vascular diseases. ...

Dementia. ...

Brain infections. ...

Seizures in childhood.

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Complications

Difficulty learning.

Breathing in food or saliva into the lungs during a seizure, which can cause aspiration pneumonia.

Injury from falls, bumps, self-inflicted bites, driving or operating machinery during a seizure.

Permanent brain damage (stroke or other damage)

Side effects of medicines.

Prevention

Get plenty of sleep each night — set a regular sleep schedule, and stick to it.

Learn stress management and relaxation techniques.

Avoid drugs and alcohol.

Take all of your medications as prescribed by your doctor.

Avoid bright, flashing lights and other visual stimuli.

Skip TV and computer time whenever possible.

Avoid playing video games.

Eat a healthy diet.

Prevent traumatic brain injuries. ...

Lower the chances of stroke and heart disease. ...

Get vaccinated. ...

Wash your hands and prepare food safely. ...

Stay healthy during your pregnancy