Epilepsy Support Group

Thursday, May 24th

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More About Epilepsy

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Patient Information
Epilepsy is a neurological condition, which affects the nervous system, and is also known as a seizure disorder. The seizures in epilepsy may be related to a brain injury or a family tendency, but most of the time the cause is unknown. The word “Epilepsy” does not indicate anything about the cause of the person’s seizures, what type they are, or how severe they are.

A seizure is a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain that usually affects how a person feels or acts for a short time.

About half of the people who have one seizure without a clear cause will have another one, usually within 6 months. You are twice as likely to have another seizure if you have a known brain injury or other type of brain abnormality. If you do have two seizures, there’s about an 80% chance that you’ll have more. If your first seizure occurred at the time of an injury or infection in the brain, you are more likely to develop epilepsy.More seizures are also likely if your doctor finds abnormalities on a neurological examination; a set of tests of the functioning of your nervous system that is performed in the doctor’s office.

Another thing that can help your doctor predict whether you will have more seizures is an EEG, electroencephalogram (e–LEK–tro–en–SEF–uh–LOG–ram), a test in which wires attached to your scalp record your brain waves. Certain patterns on the EEG are typical of epilepsy. If your brain waves show patterns of that type, you are about twice as likely to develop epilepsy as someone who does not have those patterns.

When an individual is aware of the beginning, it may be thought of as a warning or aura. On the other hand, an individual may not be aware of the beginning and therefore have no warning. Sometimes, the warning or aura is not followed by any other symptoms. It may be considered a simple partial seizure by the doctor.

The middle of the seizure may take several different forms. For people who have warnings, the aura may simply continue or it may turn into a complex partial seizure or a convulsion. For those who do not have a warning, the seizure may continue as a complex partial seizure or it may evolve into a convulsion.

The end to a seizure represents a transition from the seizure back to the individual’s normal state. This period is referred to as the “Post–ictal period” (an ictus is a seizure) and signifies the recovery period for the brain. It may last from seconds to minutes to hours, depending on several factors including which part(s) of the brain were affected by the seizure and whether the individual was on anti–seizure medication. If a person has a complex partial seizure or a convulsion, their level of awareness gradually improves during the post–ictal period, much like a person waking up from anesthesia after an operation.

Epilepsy can develop in any person at any age. 0.5% to 2% of people will develop epilepsy during their lifetime. People with certain conditions may be at greater risk. More men than women have epilepsy.

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