Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain in which the action of the nerve cells gets disturbed resulting in fit or abnormal behavior, seizures and a while of unconsciousness. Epilepsy is not communicable nor is it the basis of mental retardation. Often, these seizures of the brain are likely to have a harmful effect on the same. Epilepsy and seizures are of various types. Epilepsy drugs control seizures to great extent, and mandate a surgery only if medications prescribed are unproductive.
There is no such cause known for epilepsy. However, seizures may occur due to below mentioned causes;
Hereditary- Few types of epilepsy that fall under seizure category are due to genetic reasons that run in families. Researchers have associated few epilepsy types to 500 definite genes. For majority of people, the cause of epilepsy is directly associated to genes whilst in others, it is caused due to responsiveness to environmental conditions.
Head injury- A car accident that affects the head or a brain injury causes epilepsy.
Brain conditions- Brain tumors or strokes may result in epilepsy in adults aged 35.
Transmittable diseases- Communicable diseases like meningitis, AIDS and its like also result in epilepsy.
Prenatal injury- An infection to the pregnant mother, poor nutrition or lack of oxygen can lead to epilepsy in babies since they are sensitive to brain injuries.
Growth disorders- Autism and neurofibromatosis that hinder the growth of a person are often associated with epilepsy.
Epilepsy is treated through anticonvulsant drugs. The medications and the kind of treatment prescribed takes into account various factors associated with it. Of all, the regularity and rigorousness of the seizure of the patient, age, health and medical history are given primary importance.
Symptoms of epilepsy include;
Epilepsy is diagnosed through the following tests;
Epilepsy ECG Test - This test is done to read the electrical signals from the brain.
Epilepsy and Blood Test - A sample of blood is collected to detect epilepsy.
Epilepsy and PET Scan - Positron Emission Tomography scan detects the part of the brain that leads to seizures.
Epilepsy and the Spinal Tap - This test is also called as lumbar puncture. In this test, a fluid engulfing the spinal cord is collected using a needle to be sent to the lab for examination.
To monitor epilepsy, the tests mentioned below should be performed.
Electroencephalogram (EEG) -To have an idea of the brain activity, an EEG is done to monitor the level of seizures. This test helps to diagnose the type of seizure and the existing syndrome.
CT Scan - Scan is done to discover structural crisis in and the area surrounding the brain.
MRI - MRI is performed to develop images of the brain except in cases when bleeding is anticipated.
Blood Glucose - This is done in adults to know the blood glucose and calcium levels.
Electrocardiogram - Electrocardiogram is performed to know the heart rate or the functioning of the heart.
There are no such preventions for epilepsy. However, prevention is better than cure. One can practice the simple and basic techniques to keep at bay epilepsy.
The treatment cost of epilepsy averages to $2,000 per year.