Epilepsy Decision Essay, Research Paper
Epilepsy is a very common disorder and the international researches and surveys shows that 1 adult from 200 people suffers by epilepsy. There are several forms of epilepsy and every form causes another epileptic attack. Epilepsy is spread world wide, but it is a fact that this disorder is not well understood. Epilepsy strikes whomever at any age and it is not true, as many sources indicates, that epilepsy strikes children only. This disorder can not be genetically caught from a family member and you can not catch it from somebody. Epilepsy does not limit a person s ability and the person with epilepsy can lead normal and happy live.
To understand what the epilepsy is and how it arises, we have to understand the main brain functions. The human brain is a marvelously complicated organ; it has to be, for it controls every waking and sleeping activity, every conscious and unconscious thought and need and process that we engage in. (Harry Sands and Frances C. Minters, 1977, p.2) The brain consists of nerve cells or neurons. Each neuron has an electrically charged part. It receives electrical signals from other neurons, and passes them to others. All the functions of the brain depend on electrical signals that are send from one neuron to another. The normal brain generates an electrical rhythm in order way and this order in epilepsy is broken by some neurons discharging signals. Because of some genetic defect there will occur a short electrical storm that is caused by neurons and the subject will get a seizure. This condition is called epilepsy. When this happens, the muscles tighten and relax rapidly or stop moving completely. When the cells stop sending signals, the seizure stops as well. Epilepsy is the name for occasional, sudden, excessive, rapid and local discharges of gray matter. (Jackson, 1958, p.1) There also another alternatives that cause this abnormal discharge that may come from a localized area of the brain. This is the situation in patients with epilepsy caused by head injury, or brain tumor. Theoretically everyone can have a seizure under the right circumstances. Everybody has a brain seizure threshold that makes us resistant to seizures. Seizures can have many causes. Seizures can cause brain injury, poisoning, head trauma, or stroke. The seizures are not dedicated to any age group, sex, or race and neither is epilepsy.
Epilepsy can strike at any age anybody. But according to a research, some age groups are more susceptible than others. Below is a table that shows how some age groups are more susceptible.
Most people who get seizures during their childhood tent to experience a reduction in the intensity and frequency of their seizures, as they are getting older. In many cases the epilepsy will disappear completely.
When people think of a seizure, they usually think of someone falling down unconscious and shaking himself. Some people may also throw up or drool. This type of seizure usually lasts for several minutes. When it stops, the person may feel sleepy and will not remember what happened. Even though, a seizure may look scary, it is not painful. Some people have staring spells that look like daydreaming or some jerking movements in one part of their body. Depending on the type of seizure, the length of a seizure is very different. It may take only few seconds but also several minutes and some cases seizures last many hours. Some people used to think that a parson that has a seizure can swallow his tongue and they put in his mouth something to keep him from swallowing his tongue. But this is not true. Nobody can swallow his tongue, and there should not be put anything in a person s mouth during a seizure.
There are several types of seizures. There can happen a partial seizure or generalized seizure, but sometimes there may also occur some uncommon seizure. All these seizures are divided into several issues. The partial seizure is divided into simple partial seizure and complex seizure. In the simple partial seizure the epileptic activity in one part of the brain does not interfere with consciousness. A person whose epilepsy has been caused by injury to this part of the brain which controls movements, for example of one leg, may experience a series of involuntary jerking movement of that leg as the only symptom. The complex seizure does involve some alternation of awareness. The seizure may cause a feeling of familiarity with the surroundings but being unable to respond. Automatic movement of the jaw may occur. The generalized seizure is divided into absence seizure and tonic-clonic seizure. The absence seizure is not dramatic. This form of epilepsy was previously known as petit mal and begins in childhood, between the ages of 5 and 10. It may occur at puberty, or continue throughout adult life. The child temporarily blacks out during a seizure. The blackout is short, typically it lasts from 5 to 30 seconds and has its onset without warning. (Harry Sands and Frances C. Minsters, 1977, p.8) The child does not fall to the ground, and recovery is prompt, although the attacks may occur repeatedly. The attacks can occur in fact many times in a day. Some people this type of generalized seizure call also daydreaming. The tonic-clonic seizure, that is a part of generalized seizures, was previously called grand mal. This seizure is dramatic. Grand mal is what most people think epilepsy is all about. (Harry Sands and Frances C. Minters, 1977, p.9) There may be a brief warning like a pain in stomach or the person may cry before losing consciousness completely. The limbs will become stiff and rigid and the breathing will stop. The lips will turn blue and the eyes will be rolled upward. The jaws will be clenched and if there will be tongue or lips in the way, they will be bitten. This tonic phase takes 30-60 seconds in which the body will shake. The person that will recover from such unconsciousness may be confused for several minutes and wishes to sleep for several hours. A day after, headache and soreness are common. There are also other varieties of epilepsy that are uncommon and they include myoclonic seizures, atonic seizures, and tonic seizure. The myoclonic seizure is sudden and symmetrical and may or may not be followed by loss of consciousness. The atonic seizure leads to sudden falling to the ground or dropping of the head. This type of epilepsy is common for children who have suffered an injury to the brain through lack of oxygen at birth. Tonic seizure is dominant by stiffening the body. This attack may or may not be followed by loss of consciousness. This type is also common for children who have suffered some form of the brain injury.
What is it that makes neurons of the brain discharge abnormally? It may be caused by inherited instability, injury to the brain, metabolic disturbance, alcohol and drug abuse, or brain tumor. The inherited instability in the functioning of neurons seems to be responsible for the common forms of generalized epilepsy, especially absence attack, and tonic-clonic seizures, where there is a family history of similar disorder. The epilepsy can be caused by injury to the brain. This includes lack of oxygen at birth, trauma to the head at any time of life or stroke. Another way the epilepsy can be caused is the metabolic disturbance that can produce generalized seizures through disturbing the normal functioning of neurons. Alcohol and drug abuse can cause epilepsy as well. The seizures may be caused by intoxication, or when the offending substance is withdrawn. Also the people who have taken for a long periods some sedatives or barbiturates and will suddenly withdrawn them, may be endangered by some epileptic seizures. It is uncommon, but it is possible, that epilepsy is caused by brain tumor.
It is natural to want to help to somebody in trouble, and a person that shakes and looks unconscious seems to suffer. But this is only an appearance and in the fact the person with a seizure does not feel any pain or is not in any danger. The main rule how to help this person is that you have to stay calm. There is now way to stop a seizure once it has started and the only way a person can help is to prevent the person from hurting himself. If you see someone having a seizure, there is recommended to place this person on the softest surface around and lay this person on his side in case he throws up. The person should not be restrained and you should stay with the person until he regains awareness. If the seizure lasts more than five minutes, call the rescue squad.
Most people who have epilepsy can have their seizures under control by taking medicines. There is in the fact 80 percent of people that are able through some medicines control their epilepsy. Sometimes, if the medicine does not work, doctors may operate on the brain or put some kids on a special diet that is called a ketogenic diet. One of the most innovative medicines is the Tegretol XR. It is effective against partial onset seizures (focal, psychomotor,etc.) and tonic-clonic seizures.. Finally, for people who have large fluctuations of their blood levels during the day, the sustained release formulation may allow for smoother levels and reduce side-effects (SIU Center for Epilepsy, 1986, p.1). Epilepsy does not get worse as people get older. It remain and in fact, many kids with epilepsy get better as they get older and can stop taking medicine.
Most people with epilepsy lead normal and happy lives. They go to school or job and they have their own favorite hobbies and sports. They get married and have children. There are many more things that these people with epilepsy can do than the things they cannot do. Driving is allowed for people whose seizures are under control. Epilepsy does not limit person s ability.
Epilepsy is a common disorder and does not look funny, but it is not dangerous and the people with this disorder have the same rights like the other people. Kids who have epilepsy should be treated like everyone else. If their schoolmates give them a hard time, it should be because they do not know what the epilepsy is. Maybe there were frightened when they saw a kid with epilepsy have a seizure. If you know about epilepsy, you will not be frightened, and you can explain it to your friends. The more they know, the less frightened they will be. Then they will see that people with epilepsy are no different than the others.