- Seizure symptoms can vary widely. Some people with epilepsy simply stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others repeatedly twitch their arms or legs.
Epilepsy is a central nervous system disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain becomes disrupted, causing seizures or periods of unusual behaviour, sensations and sometimes loss of consciousness.
Seizure symptoms can vary widely. Some people with epilepsy simply stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others repeatedly twitch their arms or legs.
Because epilepsy is caused by abnormal activity in brain cells, seizures can affect any process your brain coordinates. Seizure signs and symptoms may include:
• Temporary confusion
• A staring spell
• Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs
• Loss of consciousness or awareness
• Psychic symptoms
Some of the common causes of epilepsy are:
• Genetic influence: Some types of epilepsy, which are categorised by the type of seizure you experience or the part of the brain that is affected, run in the families.
• Head trauma: Head trauma as a result of a car accident or other traumatic injury can cause epilepsy.
• Brain conditions: Brain conditions that cause damage to the brain, such as brain tumors or strokes, can cause epilepsy. Stroke is a leading cause of epilepsy in adults older than age 35.
• Infectious diseases: Infectious diseases, such as meningitis, AIDS and viral encephalitis, can cause epilepsy.
• Prenatal injury. Before birth, babies are sensitive to brain damage that could be caused by several factors, such as an infection in the mother, poor nutrition or oxygen deficiencies. This brain damage can result in epilepsy.
Certain factors may increase your risk of epilepsy such as:
• Age: The onset of epilepsy is most common during early childhood and after age 60, but the condition can occur at any age.
• Stroke and other vascular diseases: Stroke and other blood vessel diseases can lead to brain damage that may trigger epilepsy. You can take a number of steps to reduce your risk of these diseases, including limiting your intake of alcohol and avoiding cigarettes, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.
• Seizures in childhood: High fever in childhood can sometimes be associated with seizures. Children who have seizures due to high fevers generally won’t develop epilepsy, although the risk is higher if they have a long seizure, other nervous system conditions or a family history of epilepsy.
Having a seizure at certain times can lead to circumstances that are dangerous to yourself or others.
• Falling: If you fall during a seizure, you can injure your head or break a bone.
• Drowning: If you have epilepsy, you’re 15 to 19 times more likely to drown while swimming or bathing than the rest of the population because of the possibility of having a seizure while in the water.
• Car accidents: A seizure that causes either loss of awareness or control can be dangerous if you’re driving a car or operating other equipment.
• Pregnancy complications: Seizures during pregnancy pose dangers to both mother and baby, and certain anti-epileptic medications increase the risk of birth defects
Seizures can be treated or reduced by various methods.