Epilepsy Essay, Research Paper
Epilepsy is a chronic disorder characterized by recurrent seizures. Seizures are
defined as passing neurological abnormalities caused by unregulated electrical brain
discharge, a direct result of unusual electrical activity in the brain. They can last
anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, and uncontrolled. These seizures
themselves are not the disease, they may be a sign of disorder such as epilepsy. Epilepsy
affects about one percent of the general population of the United States. There is no
specific age group, race, nationality or social level the suffers from this disorder. Some
people outgrow it and have no need for medication. While others can live full and normal
lives with the proper treatments.
Some people suffering from epilepsy are warned about an impending seizure hours
before it occurs, changes such as a headache, change in mood , sluggishness or
involuntary jerking are some of the common symptoms that tend to precede a seizure.
These symptoms are different from the aura or feeling that precedes a generalized seizure
and comes seconds or minutes before the actual seizure. In most people, however,
seizure are unpredictable and unrelated to the person s current situation some external
determinants may trigger seizures though. Lack of sleep, emotional stress, missed meals,
alcohol ingestion/withdrawal, even fever or some infections may produce seizures.
There are many possible cause of epilepsy but in more than half the causes, the
precise cause cannot be determined. An inherited tendency to develop the disorder occurs
in the families of some patients. Some of the known cause include head injuries, strokes,
premature birth, infectious disease, complicated deliveries, or drug use/withdrawal.
General treatment measures include drug therapy with the goal of the preventing
further attacks. The discontinuance of treatment depends on the judgement of individual
physicians The drug treatment utilized depends on the type of seizure. the drug is increase
gradually until seizure are controlled. Monitoring plasma drug levels is necessary for
some indications due to varied therapeutic response based on blood concentration. In
cases when epilepsy is cause by a tumor in the brain, or when medication fails to control
seizures, surgery may be an alternative. Physicians may prescribe and monitor a type of
diet known as a ketogenic diet if medications have not been able to sop seizures. Most
people with epilepsy can lead normal lives. The earlier treatment begins, the better the