Symptoms Of Epilepsy You Should Know
International Epilepsy Day is observed on February 12 every year across the globe. The day aims to raise awareness about the neurological disorder which can eventually help in better understanding of the condition and also addressing the myths around it. Mayo Clinic says that it is a brain condition which causes recurring seizures. There are many types of epilepsy. In some people, the cause can be identified. In others, the cause is not known.
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons explains that the brain continuously generates tiny electrical impulses in an orderly pattern. These impulses travel along neurons and throughout the whole body via chemical messengers called neurotransmitters.
“In epilepsy the brain's electrical rhythms have a tendency to become imbalanced, resulting in recurrent seizures. In patients with seizures, the normal electrical pattern is disrupted by sudden and synchronized bursts of electrical energy that may briefly affect their consciousness, movements or sensations.”
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), nearly 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy which makes it one of the most common neurological diseases globally. Of these, almost 80% of people with the condition live in low- and middle-income countries. It is estimated that up to 70% of people living with epilepsy could live seizure-free if properly diagnosed and treated. Spotting the symptoms of the condition can help in diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms of epilepsy
One of the main symptoms of epilepsy is recurring seizures. However, it also depends on the type you have. Here are the symptoms of seizures that you know.
- Temporary loss of awareness or consciousness
- Uncontrolled muscle movements, muscle jerking, loss of muscle tone
- Blank stare or “staring into space” look
- Temporary confusion, slowed thinking, problems with talking and understanding
- Changes in hearing, vision, taste, smell, feelings of numbness or tingling
- Problems talking or understanding
- Upset stomach, waves of heat or cold, goosebumps
- Lip-smacking, chewing motion, rubbing hands, finger motions
- Psychic symptoms, including fear, dread, anxiety or déjà vu
- Faster heart rate and/or breathing
- Most people with epilepsy tend to have the same type of seizure, so have similar symptoms with each seizure.
Causes of epilepsy
A majority of times the cause of seizures is not known. However, here are some of the known causes that might cause the condition.
Some types of epilepsy like juvenile myoclonic epilepsy and childhood absence epilepsy are inherited. Researchers believe that although there’s some evidence that specific genes are involved, the genes only increase the risk of epilepsy, and other factors may be involved.
Mesial temporal sclerosis
This is a scar that forms in the inner part of your temporal lobe that can cause seizures.
Head injuries that result from accidents, falls or any other incidents where the one hurts the head.
Infections can include brain abscess, meningitis, encephalitis and neurocysticercosis.
Conditions that cause your immune system to attack brain cells can lead to epilepsy.
Birth abnormalities affecting the brain are a cause of epilepsy, particularly in people whose seizures aren’t controlled with anti-seizure medications.
People with a metabolic condition can also have epilepsy.
Brain conditions and brain vessel abnormalities
Brain health issues that can cause epilepsy include brain tumours, strokes, dementia and abnormal blood vessels, such as arteriovenous malformations.