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Epilepsy

It is a common and diverse set of chronic neurological disorders characterized by seizures. Some definitions of epilepsy require that seizures be recurrent and unprovoked and spontaneous.

Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which a person has repeated seizures (convulsions) over time. Seizures are episodes of disturbed brain activity that cause changes in attention or behavior.

Still seizures and epilepsy are the two different terminologies which have to differentiate properly. Seizures can be easy to diagnose and control for some people, for many others, epilepsy is a lifelong problem that can affect people in many different ways. But others require only a single seizure combined with brain alterations which increase the chance of future seizures.

Epileptic seizures result from abnormal, excessive or hypersynchronus neuronal activity in the brain.

CAUSES

When investigating the causes of seizures, it is important to understand physiological conditions that may predispose the individual to a seizure occurrence.

About 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, and nearly 90% of epilepsy occurs in developing countries. Epilepsy becomes more common as people age. Onset of new cases occurs most frequently in infants and the elderly. As a consequence of brain surgery, epileptic seizures may occur in recovering patients. Epilepsy is usually controlled, but not cured.

Surgery may be considered in difficult cases. Not all epilepsy syndromes are lifelong – some forms are confined to particular stages of childhood. Epilepsy should not be understood as a single disorder, but rather as syndromic with vastly divergent symptoms, all involving episodic abnormal electrical activity in the brain and numerous seizures.

There are different causes of epilepsy that are common in certain age groups.

  • During the neonatal period and early infancy the most common causes include hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, CNS infections, trauma, congenital CNS abnormalities, and metabolic disorders.
  • During late infancy and early childhood, febrile seizures are fairly common. These may be caused by many different things, some thought to be things such as CNS infections and trauma.
  • During childhood, well-defined epilepsy syndromes are generally seen.
  • During adolescence and adulthood, the causes are more likely to be secondary to any CNS lesion. Further, idiopathic epilepsy is less common. Other causes associated with these age groups are stress, trauma, CNS infections, brain tumors, and illicit drug use and alcohol withdrawal.
  • In older adults, cerebrovascular disease is a very common cause. Other causes are CNS tumors, head trauma, and other degenerative diseases that are common in the older age group, such as dementia.

CLASSIFICATION
Epilepsies are classified in five ways.

  • By their first cause or etiology.
  • By the observable manifestations of the seizures, known as semiology.
  • By the location in the brain where the seizures originate.
  • As a part of discrete, identifiable medical syndromes.
  • By the event that triggers the seizures, such as reading or music

Seizure types
Seizure types are organized firstly according to whether the source of the seizure within the brain is localized partial or focal onset seizures or distributed generalized seizures.

Partial seizures are further divided on the extent to which consciousness is affected. If it is unaffected, then it is a simple partial seizure; otherwise it is a complex partial psychomotor seizure.

A partial seizure may spread within the brain - a process known as secondary generalization. Generalized seizures are divided according to the effect on the body but all involve loss of consciousness.

These include absence- petit mal, myoclonic, clonic, tonic, tonic-clonic (grand mal), and atonic seizures.

Children may exhibit behaviors that are easily mistaken for epileptic seizures but are not caused by epilepsy. These include:

  • Inattentive staring
  • Benign shudders (among children younger than age 2, usually when they are tired or excited)
  • Self-gratification behaviors (nodding, rocking, head banging)
  • Conversion disorder flailing and jerking of the head, often in response to severe personal stress such as physical abuse.

Conversion disorder can be distinguished from epilepsy because the episodes never occur during sleep and do not involve incontinence or self-injury.

Symptoms of epilepsy:
The most common symptoms or signs are seizures or convulsions. Seizures are involuntary movements, like jerking or thrashing, or experiencing unusual feelings or sensations, which can be associated with loss of consciousness or being unaware of things happening around.

  • Before appearance of seizure may be hours or days ago, person can notice various changes in his behavior or mood.
  • History can be obtained from friend or patient himself.
  • Patients experience aura before the seizure attack, in which the patient feels that he has seen this before or lived this before or can smell strange things or see flashes of lights.
  • After a partial seizure there may be temporary weakness of the affected limb.
  • After generalized seizure the patient may feel awful with headache, myalgia, confusion, and a sore tongue.

Generally seizures can also be caused due to decrease in sodium, calcium, magnesium, hypoglycemia (decreased blood glucose level) from the body, or due to high fever or even due to hypoxia (decrease oxygen content in the blood).
Not everything that twitches is epilepsy; but tongue biting is very suggestive of epilepsy

Treatment-
Homeopathic approach:
The aim of the treatment is-

  • To reduce the frequency or repetition of epileptic seizures.
  • To reduce the intensity of the seizures.
  • In some cases supportive role along with the conventional line of treatment.
  • Also helped in reduction of side-effects after prolong use of modern medicines for epilepsy.
  • Help in reduction the after effects of epileptic episode.
  • In Partial seizure with normal EEG, definitely homeopathy have good role in treatment.


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