Invisible Illness: Epilepsy
What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a chronic disorder, the hallmark of which is recurrent, unprovoked seizures. Many people with epilepsy have more than one type of seizure and may have other symptoms of neurological problems as well.
Sometimes EEG testing, clinical history, family history and outlook are similar among a group of people with epilepsy. In these situations, their condition can be defined as a specific epilepsy syndrome.
The human brain is the source of human epilepsy. Although the symptoms of a seizure may affect any part of the body, the electrical events that produce the symptoms occur in the brain. The location of that event, how it spreads and how much of the brain is affected, and how long it lasts all have profound effects. These factors determine the character of a seizure and its impact on the individual. Essentially, anything the brain can do, it can do in the form of a seizure.
Having seizures and epilepsy can affect one's safety, relationships, work, driving and so much more. Public perception and treatment of people with epilepsy are often bigger problems than actual seizures.
Types of seizures:
1. Idiopathic - this means there is no apparent cause.
2. Cryptogenic - this means the doctor thinks there is most probably a cause, but cannot pinpoint it.
3. Symptomatic - this means that the doctor knows what the cause is.
Symptoms of epilepsy:
The main symptoms of epilepsy are repeated seizures. There are some symptoms which may indicate a person has epilepsy. If one or more of these symptoms are present a medical exam is advised, especially if they recur:
-A convulsion with no temperature (no fever).
-Short spells of blackout, or confused memory.
Intermittent fainting spells, during which bowel or bladder control is lost. This is frequently followed by extreme tiredness.
-For a short period the person is unresponsive to instructions or questions.
-The person becomes stiff, suddenly, for no obvious reason
-The person suddenly falls for no clear reason
-Sudden bouts of blinking without apparent stimuli
-Sudden bouts of chewing, without any apparent reason
-For a short time the person seems dazed, and unable to communicate
-Repetitive movements that seem inappropriate
-The person becomes fearful for no apparent reason, he/she may even panic or become angry
-Peculiar changes in senses, such as smell, touch and sound
-The arms, legs, or body jerk, in babies these will appear as cluster of rapid jerking movements.