*Epilepsy is the most common serious brain disorder worldwide. It has no age, racial, Social Class, national, or geographic boundaries.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder. It’s also classified as a seizure disorder that affects the nervous system. A seizure is a disturbance of the electrical activity in your brain. Not everyone with epilepsy has the same type of seizure and it may affect people differently.
Symptoms of Epilepsy
There are multiple kinds of epilepsy, and the two types of epileptic seizures are partial and generalized. Partial seizures, also known as focal seizures, occur in a specific part of the brain and may only affect part of the body. Symptoms of partial seizures include:
- Jerky movements
- Tingling or dizziness
- Repetitive motions
- Staring or confusion
- Emotional changes
Generalized seizures occur all over the brain and can affect the entire body. Symptoms of general seizures include:
- Twitching motions
- Falling down
- Loss of consciousness
- Biting the tongue
- Loss of bladder control
- tiffening of the body
Risk Factors and Causes
In many people the cause of epilepsy is not known. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) estimates that nearly two-thirds of epilepsy diagnoses have no known cause. Children are more likely than adults to have epilepsy with no known cause. There are some risk factors that may play a part in developing epilepsy, but a person can have risk factors and never develop the condition. These include:
- Head injury or traumatic brain injury
- Brain tumor
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Lack of oxygen at time of birth
- Brain infection like meningitis
- Hardening of the arteries of the brain
A family history can be a risk factor for developing epilepsy, but it’s not known how the condition gets passed genetically.
Doctor Who Treat Epilepsy
Neurologists are doctors who specialize in the brain. Within that field, some neurologists concentrate on and specialize in epilepsy. This specialty is called epileptology. If your epilepsy is especially problematic or you need special care, you might see an epileptologist.
An accurate diagnosis is crucial. Without an accurate diagnosis, treatment will be ineffective. The first step a doctor needs to take is to figure out whether the symptoms you describe are due to a seizure. If it is determined that the symptoms are consistent with a seizure, the type of seizure and the cause need to be identified.
The doctor will ask a variety of questions to get a detailed medical history. This can help the doctor rule out certain conditions that are not epilepsy and look for any other underlying medical issues. You or a family member will be asked about what happened before, during, and after a seizure.