An epilepsy disorder in which the activity of nerve cells in the brain is disrupted, resulting in seizures. A genetic disorder or an acquired brain injury, such as a trauma or stroke, may cause epilepsy.
During a seizure, a person displays abnormal behavior, symptoms, and sensations, and may even lose consciousness. Few symptoms exist between seizures.
In many instances, epilepsy is treated with surgery, devices, or dietary modifications.
Epilepsy is a group of many different ‘epilepsies’ that all have one thing in common: a proclivity to have seizures that begin in the brain.
Seizures caused by epilepsy
At some point in our lives, any of us could have a single epileptic seizure. This is not the same as having epilepsy, which is characterized by seizures that begin in the brain.
Other types of seizures may resemble epileptic seizures, but they do not begin in the brain. Some seizures are caused by medical conditions such as low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or a change in the heart’s rhythm. When a child has a high temperature, they may experience ‘febrile convulsions’ (jerking movements). These are not to be confused with epileptic seizures.
You may be diagnosed with epilepsy if you have had two or more seizures that began in your brain.
If you suspect you have epilepsy, NICE recommends that you see a specialist (a doctor who is trained in diagnosing and treating epilepsy) within two weeks.
Finding out what happened to you before, during, and after your seizures will help you make a diagnosis. Some types of faints, for example, can resemble epileptic seizures, and often before fainting, a person feels cold and clammy, and their vision becomes blurry. However, epileptic seizures occur suddenly, and a person may have no warning that a seizure is about to occur.
What treatment options are available?
Epilepsy is sometimes referred to as a long-term condition because many people live with it for many years, if not their entire lives. Although epilepsy cannot be ‘cured,’ seizures can usually be ‘controlled’ (stopped) so that epilepsy has little or no impact on their lives. As a result, treatment is frequently focused on long-term seizure management.
Most people with epilepsy take anti-seizure medication (ASM), formerly known as anti-epileptic drugs or AEDs, to prevent seizures. Pregabalin 50mg and Pregabalin 75 mg are the most trusted medicines for epilepsy treatment. There are, however, other treatment options available for people whose seizures are not controlled by ASM.
Treatment is usually considered only after a person has been diagnosed with epilepsy, which usually occurs after a series of seizures. A specialist, preferably one with expertise in epilepsy, should make the diagnosis. NICE has recommended this (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence).
In some rare cases, treatment may be considered after only one seizure. This is usually only done if your doctor believes you are very likely to have more seizures. If this is the case, they may advise you to begin treatment right away.
Anti-seizure medication (ASM), formerly known as anti-epileptic drugs or AEDs, works by regulating the electrical activity in the brain that causes seizures. It does not cure epilepsy and is not used to stop seizures in progress. ASM works best when taken on a consistent basis, around the same time each day. With the right ASM, up to 70% of people (7 in 10) could have their seizures fully controlled (stop having seizures).
Is my epilepsy a risk factor?
We take risks in all aspects of our lives, but some are more concerning than others. Risk is the possibility of something bad happening, such as loss or injury, and it is frequently associated with uncertainty. Taking a risk can sometimes mean trying something new and pushing yourself in a positive way. However, risk can also refer to the possibility of injury, danger, or damage to your health.
Because epilepsy varies greatly from person to person, the risks associated with epilepsy are determined by: whether you are currently having seizures, the number and type of seizures you are having, how your seizures are affecting you, and whether you have any other medical conditions, such as heart or breathing problems.
It can be difficult or frightening to consider potential threats to your health and safety. However, looking at risks can be beneficial if it helps you find ways to reduce risk or make activities safer. It may also make you feel more in control and assist you in determining which risks are relevant to your situation, allowing you to focus on what is important to you.
People with epilepsy may also face specific risks, such as the risk of injury, accident, or injury. Looking into risk management strategies may also allow you to do the things you enjoy while remaining as independent as possible.
If you have epilepsy, you may be fine with it or you may have questions or concerns.
Your epilepsy and your life choices may appear to be major issues. This information provides a brief overview of epilepsy and its treatment. We also discuss sports and leisure, sex, drugs, social life, driving, getting a job, how you may feel about your epilepsy, getting support, and how friends can help if you have a seizure.