Seizures and Epilepsy

    • Brief

    • Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which brain activity is abnormal. This abnormality may, in turn, cause periods of unusual behaviour. Also, there may sometimes be a loss of consciousness in the affected person. Epilepsy can be caused by inherited genetic disorders or brain injury. Treatment can reduce how frequently the patient experiences seizures and improves the quality of life.

    • What are the symptoms?

    • Symptoms of epilepsy are:

      • Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs.
      • Loss of consciousness and awareness.
      • Temporary confusion.
      • Fear and anxiety can occur.
      • A sudden stillness with a blank stare.
    • What are the causes?

    • In many patients, the cause of epilepsy is unknown. Those who have an identifiable reason can be from an accident with impact to the head, a brain abnormality, infection of the brain, improper childhood development, or an inherited condition.

    • What are the things that put you at risk?

      • Epilepsy tends to occur mostly in the very young (1st year of life) and the elderly.
      • Brain infections in babies are a risk factor for epilepsy.
      • The use of illegal drugs such as cocaine during pregnancy can cause a baby to have epilepsy.
      • A family history of epilepsy is also a risk factor.
      • Head or brain injuries can cause epilepsy. As much as possible, you should avoid head injuries or crashes.
    • When to visit a doctor?

    • All patients who have had a seizure for the first time require medical attention. This allows the healthcare provider to evaluate the patient and advise on treatment where necessary. For patients living with epilepsy, when seizures become more frequent than normal, this requires medical attention.

    • How to prevent?

    • Epilepsy cannot be prevented but you can prevent seizures with appropriate treatment. You can reduce the risk of accidents and improve function by following steps agreed with your healthcare provider, including taking your medicines and managing stress. Self-care is important for reducing your risks for uncontrolled seizures and loss of function.

    • How to manage and treat?

    • Self-Care Tips:

      • Eat foods high in fat and low in carbohydrates (like vegetables and meat) may help reduce epilepsy symptoms. This is recommended as part of a ketogenic diet to manage epilepsy.
      • Don’t drink, alcohol, smoke tobacco, or use illegal drugs.
      • Get plenty of sleep every night. Adults should have 6-9 hours of sleep each night.
      • Protect your head with a helmet during sporting activity that could result in head injury.
      • Find ways to cope with stress.

      Treatment Options

      Epilepsy is best treated with anticonvulsants and prevention of the symptoms goes a long way in reducing the triggers of epilepsy.

      • Your healthcare provider may recommend anticonvulsants. They may also change the doses or drug itself frequently. This is done to ensure the lowest dose of the drug with the best effect is identified for you.
      • Do not stop using your medicine at any time without referring to your healthcare provider.

      What to do when a person has epilepsy

      Seizures usually occur in short episodes of five to ten minutes. You can help someone with an epileptic fit by:

      • Clearing the environment where the incident is occurring. Remove harmful objects that can injure the person.
      • You should prevent others from causing a scene or forcing anything into the individual's mouth. Do not put a spoon or an object to obstruct the mouth or airways.
      • Time the episodes, if more than one or if convulsions or seizures last longer than ten minutes, get an ambulance right away or alert emergency medical services.
      • Get the individual to a healthcare provider as soon as possible, after the seizure.
      • If the patient is a child or a known epileptic, work with them to keep a seizure diary.
    • Kulawa cares

    • People living with epilepsy feel a lot of embarrassment and may avoid social events. This withdrawal may cause social problems, depression and poor adherence to drug and psychosocial support. It is important that you remember that epilepsy is not contagious and there is no reason to feel embarrassed or apologize for your episode. Anxiety may also increase episodes of seizures. Learning coping methods can help you in times of stress and emotional problems.

      In people with unpredictable seizures, having supportive friends and an extra pair of clothing in your bag can help reduce the social tensions that can come with an event.