What is Epilepsy?
Definition of Epilepsy: A term for recurring seizures. Epileptic seizures can range from very mild to disabling or life-threatening. About 3 percent of people in the United States are diagnosed with epilepsy by age 80, according to the CDC. Below is a brief overview of the causes, symptoms and treatments, plus links to more information.
What Causes Epilepsy? Known causes include infections and traumas that affect the brain such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, complications during childbirth, some genetic disorders and head injuries. However, doctors often don't find a cause for a person's epilepsy.
Is Epilepsy Contagious? No.
Medical Term: Also called seizure disorder.
Signs & Symptoms: A seizure is a disruption of the electrical activity in the brain. Seizure symptoms depend on the disruption and may include muscle spasms, confusion, strange emotions, staring spells, convulsions, and loss of consciousness.
Treatment & Remedies: Many people successfully treat their epilepsy with antiepileptic medications. In some cases, surgery to remove the area of the brain where seizures originate can help symptoms. An implanted device that stimulates the vagus nerve may help some patients, as can a specialized diet.
- Seizures are usually classified as focal – meaning they originate in one part of the brain – or general seizures, which involve the entire brain, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Even mild recurring seizures need treatment since they can be dangerous to a person in many activities.
- A person must have at least two seizures to be diagnosed with epilepsy.
Sources and More Information:
- Epilepsy: Details from MyHealthNewsDaily
- Related Information from the Mayo Clinic
- Related Information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- Related Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Related Information from the Epilepsy Society
This information is not meant to provide specific medical advice. It is for educational purposes only. We recommend you consult a qualified health care professional for diagnoses and treatment advice, and call 9-1-1 in emergencies.
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