Information is power, and in this blog we will help you to identify the signs and symptoms that may come with epilepsy. First off, what is epilepsy?
Simply put, epilepsy is a chronic disorder that causes recurring seizures – which is an unprovoked and sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain.
Seizures are generally split into two types, namely generalised seizures, which will impact the entire brain, as well as focal seizures, which affect a single part of the brain.
There are times where one may not even recognise a seizure, as it will last for just a few seconds – and the sufferer may not even be aware.
However, stronger seizures can result in uncontrollable twitches of the muscles as well as spasms, and can last for a few seconds or minutes. The person suffering this may even lose consciousness, or become confused.
There are a few things that can trigger a seizure, including head trauma, extremely low blood sugar, high fever or even alcohol withdrawal.
It is essential to know about epilepsy because it is a fairly common neurological disorder which impacts over 60 million people around the globe. This disorder tends to affect young children, or older adults, in many cases, but anyone can develop the disorder. It has no cure, but can be effectively managed via medication and other treatment.
How to identify epilepsy:
The main symptom of epilepsy is a seizure, however, they can differ for each person and symptoms also differ depending on the type of seizure.
If someone suffers from a focal seizure and does not lose consciousness, they should look out for changes to their senses (taste, smell, sight, hearing or touch). Dizziness, tingling and twitching can also signal a focal seizure.
If the partial seizure is more complex and does involve loss of consciousness/awareness, it would include blank staring, unresponsiveness and repetitive motions.
When it comes to generalised seizures, there are actually six types to look out for.
Tonic seizures will cause muscle stiffness while atonic seizures result in loss of muscle control and could make you fall over. Absence seizures are most likely to cause blank staring and repetitive movement, along with a loss of awareness.
Clonic seizures often involve jerky muscle movements of the face, neck or arms, while myoclonic seizures result in twitching in the arms and legs.
Tonic-clonic seizures can result in stiffening of the body, shaking, biting of the tongue, loss of consciousness and even loss of bladder/bowel control.
The person having the seizure may not remember it and will feel slightly ill for a few hours after.
Be aware of triggers:
There are often contributing factors that can lead to a seizure. This includes a lack of sleep, illness, flashing lights or patterns and bad diet. Caffeine, alcohol, medicine and drugs can also cause seizures.
If you suffer epilepsy and struggle to identify triggers, it could be a good idea to keep a diary and document all details about what was happening before the seizure.
The best course of action to take if your suspect that you suffer from epilepsy is to see a medical professional as soon as possible.