Epilepsy is the term for a group of disorders that have a primary symptom of seizures. A seizure is an irregular behavior or movement that is directly related to atypical electrical activity within the brain. A term that doctors frequently use when describing how seizures affect the brain is called sporadic electrical storms. Just because someone has a seizure does not mean that person is epileptic. Even though many people dont know what is epilepsy nearly one percent of the population is affected, epilepsy is a common medical illness. Almost nine percent of Americans will experience one or more seizures in the course of their lives, and approximately 2.5 million people in the United States have epilepsy.
The Different Types of Epilepsy:
Like many other medical conditions there are several subgroups of epilepsy, each having their own symptoms, causes, and treatments. There are two different subgroups of epilepsy: generalized and partial. Within these two subgroups there are also multiple different types of epilepsy. These subtypes include idiopathic, symptomatic, and cryptogenic.
When someone has idiopathic generalized epilepsy they often times have a family history of epilepsy. Those who have this type of epilepsy generally have it appear during their childhood years, although it is possible to be diagnosed with this type as an adult as well. There are no spinal cord or brain abnormalities besides the seizures that occur within this type of epilepsy. Idiopathic partial epilepsy is known as one of the less severe of epilepsy types. This subtype of epilepsy occurs only in adolescence and is never diagnosed in an adult.
Caused by brain damage that is extremely widespread, symptomatic generalized epilepsy is most commonly caused by injury during the birth of a baby. People who have this type of epilepsy also typically have other conditions such as cerebral palsy and mental disability. Brain disorders that are genetically inherited can also be the cause of symptomatic generalized epilepsy. Symptomatic partial epilepsy happens to be the most common of all epilepsy types. Although this type of epilepsy can appear in children, it is most commonly diagnosed in adults.
What Are the Causes of Epilepsy?
For many people the cause of their seizures is unknown, but in others the cause is related to some form of trauma that has occurred because of a brain injury. Direct causes for epilepsy are not usually clear in most patient cases. There are certain triggers that are thought to increase the risk of seizures in patients who have been diagnosed as having epilepsy. These can include lack of rest, certain illegal drug use (cocaine, ecstasy), excessive use of alcohol, missing doses of epilepsy medication, and using various drugs that can disrupt seizure medicines.
What are the Treatment Options for Epilepsy?
There are many different options for the treatment of epilepsy. Treatment options can include prescribed medications, lifestyle changes, and surgical operations in addition to other alternative styles of treatment. Various forms of treatment for epilepsy may include but are not limited to: ketogenic diets, medications, specific surgeries, biofeedback, and vagus nerve stimulation.