Epilepsy refers to a set of neurological disorders that are commonly manifested through seizures. It is the result of a disruption in the normal cell-to-cell communication process of the central nervous system. Seizures have the ability to raise a serious alarm if left untreated, causing havoc in a person's life. Although these episodes may be infrequent, it is important that the patient is made aware of the condition he faces when attack strikes. At most times, patients when left unaware, often find themselves at the mercy of others, without realising that help is just at an arm's length.
How to deal with a seizure
Sometimes, one cannot really monitor the frequency of a seizure. Most of the time patients have little or no control over their body parts. Some of them are even scared, thinking that they might be mugged when a seizure strikes. Most doctors recommend that the patient and his family members should be made aware of what he might do during an attack.
Although only about 1 percent of the world is known to suffer from these seizures, the causes are yet under research, with a definite solution that still remains unearthed!
Causes and effects of epilepsy
The physiological reason behind epilepsy is altered communication between neurons. This may occur due to brain tumours and cancers, brain injury, alcohol or drug abuse, as well as certain bacterial and parasitic infections. Depending on the precise aetiology, epileptic conditions have been categorised as:
- Symptomatic epilepsy that involves pathologically evident damage to the brain tissue.
- Cryptogenic epilepsy that is characterised by symptoms suggestive of brain damage but no physical damage to the brain is detectable.
- Idiopathic epilepsy, for which the aetiology is unclear.
The signs of epilepsy largely depend upon the type of seizure. Some of them may last for only 20 seconds whereas some might stretch for about 45 minutes to an hour. Since they are difficult to pinpoint, there is a generalised view on this.
- Generalised seizures may affect the consciousness and bodily functions from its onset and affect the whole body.
- Absence seizures usually last 10 to 30 seconds. They may include slight movement, or a total loss of contact with the environment. Since the impulses to the brain are infrequent, it's a tough situation for the patient to even move his finger.
Epilepsy cannot be cured completely but can be controlled by treating the specific neurological disorder as well as by using anti-epileptic drugs (AED). However, certain precautions should be taken.
- You could loosen some amount of restrictive clothing roll over the patient to one side so that he breathes easily, without any blockages.
- You could move any sharp or potentially harmful items away from the person suffering from a seizure to ensure that he does not harm himself or others around him.