What is epilepsy?
There are several types of epilepsy. This article will focus upon generalised seizures – the type of seizure most people associate with epilepsy (where abnormal electrical activity in the brain creates the onset of a range of symptoms).
When a person suffers an epileptic generalised seizure they:
Suffer body stiffening or begin to jerk uncontrollably
Aggressively bite their tongue
Often, after a generalised seizure (which usually occurs in one short burst of a few minutes), the person feels sleepy or overwhelmingly tired, depending upon the severity of the seizure.
Despite worldwide medical research, as yet it is still unclear exactly what causes epileptic seizures. What is known is that sudden abnormal bursts of electric activity in the brain occur without any prior warning and with no evident trigger – resulting in the aforementioned symptoms and behaviours. However, some experts strongly suggest that epilepsy may develop as a result of some sort of brain damage or a brain injury.
Other suggested causes include:
Alcohol or drug abuse
Also, some people may have a genetic predisposition to developing epilepsy. This means that there is a family history of epilepsy which may have been passed down.
If you think you may have suffered an epileptic seizure, arrange an appointment with your GP. After taking your medical history, a diagnosis will be made based upon your description of your seizures – what happens, how often they occur, any suspected triggers, etc.
To establish a confirmed diagnosis you may be asked to undergo a brain scan (an MRI scan or CT scan), and/or an EEG (Electroencephalogram) where the electrical activity in your brain will be recorded.
Based upon the results of the scans an appropriate treatment will be recommended to you.
Effect on your life
To avoid the sudden onset of an epileptic seizure the best thing you can do is to try to avoid triggers, such as: stress and/or anxiety; sleep deprivation (e.g., due to working long hours; disturbed sleep due to some other emotional or environmental factor); strobe lighting; video or computer games which display sudden bright flashing images; and also having a low blood sugar level as a result of missing meals.
Although epilepsy cannot be cured as such, it may be possible for your GP or a specialist to prescribe stabilising medication which reduces the frequency of seizures.
Where epileptic generalised seizures are particularly severe you may be asked to consider surgery (where a small part of the brain is removed).
How Chemist Online can help
Through this website we have a range of products available to buy which can help you to monitor your blood glucose levels.
Advice & Support
Helpline: 0808 800 5050
National Society for Epilepsy
Helpline: 01494 601 400
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