Epilepsy occurs as a result of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Brain cells communicate by sending electrical signals in an orderly pattern. In epilepsy, these electrical signals become abnormal, giving rise to an "electrical storm" that produces seizures. These storms may be within a specific part of the brain or may be generalized, depending on the type of epilepsy.
Epilepsy is the oldest-known brain disorder; in the early ages people did not understand the causes, people often thought that it was a demon possession. It was not until the late 1880s that the disease was correctly identified. Dr. John Jackson, a famous English neurologist, was the first person ...view middle of the document...
A doctor that specializes in seizures and epilepsy is called a neurologist. The neurologist will look at your past medical records, will do a physical and neurological examination of muscle strength, reflexes, eyesight, hearing, and ability to detect various sensations. A blood test to measure red and white cell counts, blood sugar, blood calcium and electrolyte levels. After those are taken, the patient will be taken in for a electroencephalogram test (EEG), which measures electrical impulses in the brain. The neurologist may ask to do a sleep deprived EEG, which means no sleep for 24 hours, then the EEG will be preformed. The reason for the sleep deprived test is because when the test is preformed, the patient will fall into a deep sleep to see different brain waves. If they find something abnormal they will call it a “electrical storm” that produces epilepsy.
Not all people that have seizures have epilepsy. Non-epileptic seizures are known as pseudo-seizures, these are not accompanied by abnormal electrical activity in the brain and may be caused by psychological issues or stress. However, non-epileptic seizures look like true seizures, which makes diagnosis difficult. Normal EEG readings and lack of response to epileptic drugs are clues that they are not true epileptic seizures. These types of seizure may be treated with psychiatric medications. (Devinsky)
Some people are aware of the beginning of a seizure, possibly as much as hours or days before it happens. On the other hand, some people may not be aware of the beginning and therefore have no warning. Some people may experience feelings, sensations or changes in behavior hours or days before a seizure. These feelings are generally not part of the seizure, but may warn a person that a seizure may occur. Not everyone may experience these signs, which are an indication that may help a person change their activities.
An aura or warning is the first symptom of a seizure, often the aura is an unrecognizable feeling. Other times it’s easy to recognize and may be a change in feeling, sensation, thought, or behavior that is similar each time a seizure occurs.
The middle of a seizure is often called the ictal phase. It’s the period of time from the first symptoms to the end of the seizure activity, This correlates with the electrical seizure activity in the brain. Sometimes the visible symptoms last longer than the seizure activity on an EEG. This is because some of the visible symptoms may be after effects of a seizure or not related to seizure activity at all.
As the seizure ends, it is the recovery period. Some people recover immediately while others may take minutes or hours to feel normal. The type of seizure often depends on what part of the brain the seizure affects, the recovery period depends on what occurs during the seizure.
If someone is seen having a seizure, holding them down is not will not help. You should do the following:
Roll the person on his or her side to...