Essays Of Epilepsy

Epilepsy Essay

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a condition characterized by recurrent seizures which are unprovoked by any immediately identifiable cause (Hopkins & Shorvon, 1995). It is also known as a seizure disorder. A wide range of links and risk factors are associated with the condition, but most of the time the cause is unknown. Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders, affecting approximately two and half million people in the US and about 50 million worldwide. Though seizures can occur at any age, epilepsy is most commonly seen in children and the elderly. Most respond well to treatment and can control their seizures, but for some it is a chronic illness. A clinical diagnosis is the first step to finding a potential cure for the disorder.

The diagnosis of epilepsy is usually made after the patient experiences a second unprovoked seizure (Leppik, 2002). Diagnosis is often difficult, however, since it is unlikely that the physician will actually see the patient experience and epileptic seizure, and therefore must rely heavily on patient’s history. An electroencephalography (EEG) is often used to examine the patient’s brain waves, and some forms of epilepsy can be revealed by a characteristic disturbance in electrical frequency (Bassick, 1993). The variations in frequency can take form as spikes or sharp waves (Fisher, 1995). The variations are divided into two groups, ictal electrograph abnormalities, which are disturbances resulting from seizure activity, and interictal electrograph abnormalities, or disturbances between seizures. The EEG can also give clues as to which region of the brain the disturbances arise from. Interictal temporal spikes will predict the side of seizure origin in 95% of patients if three times as many spikes appear in one temporal lobe as the other (Blume, 2002). A sleep EEG is also often done to examine the patient’s slow wave activity. Localized abnormal slow activity suggests a structural or vascular lesion in the brain, while localized absence of normal slow activity indicates underlying damage or atrophy (Fisher, 1995).

While an EEG is helpful in the determination of epilepsy type or cause it also shows much variation between patients and types. An EEG examination can show no abnormal activity in patients with some epilepsies and can also demonstrate apparent epileptic activity in patients with no history of the condition. Additional EEGs will not detect additional abnormalities. Spatial and temporal sampling limitations are often the cause of an unhelpful study of an epileptic patent (Fisher, 1995). Another problem with EEGs exists within its need for interpretation. Discrepancy often exists pertaining to which disturbances are considered significant. Imaging techniques are often used in addition to the EEG to help determine causation.

Several imaging methods are used to diagnose a patient with epilepsy. The objective of imaging in epilepsy is to identify a cause, through the identification of...

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Essay on Epilepsy

750 Words3 Pages

Epilepsy

Epilepsy can happen to anyone of any age. The largest(47%) percent of people, developing epilepsy for the first time, being children from birth to nine years of age. The next largest age group would be ten year olds to ninteen year olds at 30%. The least amount of first time seizures comes from the forty plus age group. (According to EFA publications) Over 2.5 million people suffer from epilepsy. The international league against epilepsy describes a seizure as an alternative term for "epileptic attack". Seizures vary in there length and severity. A "tonic-clonic" seizure can last for one to seven minutes. " Absence seizures usually last for a few seconds. However, complex partial seizure" may last for thirty seconds or two…show more content…

The person may or may or may not lose conciousness.

The cause of all seizures is unclear, but doctors have come up with some reasons why they may occur. Common forms of generalized epilepsy, absence attacks, and tonic-clonic seizures are sometimes caused because of an inherited instability. This is where the inherited instability in functioning of neurones is responsible for these disorders. It is still not understood just how this genetic defect works, it could be the abnormality is in the structure of the neurone's outer membrance, which could cause electrical instability.

Any type of injury related to your brain could cause you to have an epilectic seizure. These could include lack of oxygen during delivery of a baby, injury to the head at any age, injury to the brain caused by stroke.

Metabolic disturbance may cause seizures which are generalized, through distributing the regular functioning of neurones. The cause could be when the blood sugar is very low, or when the liver or kidney malfunction.

People that are alcoholic or drug abusers may have a seizure while under the influence of these substances. They may also experience a seizure when the withdraw some of these substances, like barbiturates or sedatives or some other medications, especially if they have been taken for a long time.

Brain tumors can be a cause of seizures also, but these are very rare. Most epileptic patients have been tested for brain tumors, just

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