What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a neurological condition—that is, a condition affecting the nervous system. Epilepsy is also known as a seizure disorder. It is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures that were not caused by some known medical condition like alcohol withdrawal or extremely low blood sugar.
The seizures in epilepsy may be related to a brain injury or a family tendency, but most of the time the cause is unknown.
Epilepsy stems from dozens of causes: genetics, heredity, brain tumours, viral infections, head trauma from accidents or falls, alcoholism, Alzheimer's disease. The list goes on.
Types of seizure
Partial - Theses are often characterised by abnormal electrical activity that is found localised in one area of the brain. The result may be involuntary movement or unusual sensations (sensory neurons), and attention and behavioural changes.
General - May or may not be convulsive; usually involves a loss of consciousness. There is evidence of abnormal electrical activity in many areas of the brain.
- Primary generalised seizures
- Secondary generalised seizures
- Simple partial seizures may cause unusual feelings or sensations that can take many forms, such as sudden, unexplained feelings of joy, anger, sadness, or nausea. It's not uncommon to hear, smell, taste, see, or feel things that are not real. During simple partial seizures, patients remain alert and aware. These seizures usually last just a few seconds.
- Complex partial seizures cause a change in or loss of consciousness. Altered consciousness can produce a dreamlike experience. Strange, repetitious behaviours such as blinks, twitches, mouth movements, or even walking in a circle occur. Throwing objects or striking walls or furniture, as if in anger or fear, may also occur. These seizures usually last just 1 or 2 minutes.
- Tonic-clonic seizures (formerly called grand mal) cause the person to cry out, stiffen, and fall. Shaking and tongue-biting is common.
- Absence seizures (formerly called petit mal) cause staring, blinking, or twitching. They occur mainly in children, who are often mistaken to be daydreaming.
- Atonic seizures (formerly called drop attacks) cause sudden loss of muscle tone. This type of seizure can literally cause a person to drop to the ground.
- Myoclonic seizures (Tonic) cause limbs to jerk suddenly, and often happen just after waking.
Status epilepticus is a seizure which lasts for a long time, or repeats without recovery. This prolonged or repeated seizure activity can result in death if it is not treated immediately.
Status epilepticus can be convulsive (tonic-clonic or myoclonic seizures) or non-convulsive (absence or complex partial seizures). A person in non-convulsive status epilepticus may appear confused or dazed.
Reassurance, High concentrations of O2,Monitoring vital signs. Loosen tight clothing, Do not attempt to restrain patient, Remove any hazards that may fall or injure patient, Do not put anything in patients mouth, lay patient on their side so any fluid in their mouth can drain away, When the seizure ends allow the patient to rest or sleep, Deal with any injuries sustained during attack.
Transport to Hospital