What are some Symptoms of Epilepsy
Causes & Symptoms
Epilepsy - what is it actually?
Epilepsy is a chronic disease that originates in the brain and can occur at any age, but especially in childhood. A large proportion of childhood epilepsies stop on their own with puberty.
In all epilepsy, epileptic seizures occur from time to time for no apparent cause. These are caused by sudden, short-term functional disorders of the brain. 5% of all people experience an epileptic seizure once in a lifetime. In most cases, however, you will not have epilepsy, but rather what is known as an occasional seizure.
Epileptic seizures usually last a few seconds or a few minutes and go away on their own without treatment. A seizure rarely lasts longer than 20 minutes (“seizure status”).
One speaks of epilepsy only when at least two epileptic seizures have occurred that were not triggered by an immediately preceding recognizable cause.
There are two groups of seizures:
- Focal seizures
They only affect part of the brain, consciousness is retained
- Generalized seizures
They encompass both hemispheres of the brain at the same time, the consciousness ceases
The so-called secondary generalized seizure begins in one region of the brain and spreads to the entire brain. In such a case, the sufferer can often remember the beginning of their seizure. In order to make the right therapy decision, it is important to know exactly how the seizure happens.
Causes: how does epilepsy develop?
Any brain can react with a seizure if it is intensely irritated, for example by a high fever, fatigue or a brain injury. Poisoning, inflammation, or alcohol can also trigger an attack.
In epilepsy, i.e. repeated seizures without a recognizable trigger, damage or inflammation of the brain come into question as causes. Disturbances in brain maturation during pregnancy or birth complications can also be the cause. In adolescents and young adults, accidents and brain tumors are the main causes of epilepsy. In adults and the elderly, circulatory disorders and strokes or breakdown processes in the brain play a major role. However, the causes of epilepsy often remain unclear.
Recent research suggests that epilepsy can also be inherited.
Symptoms: signs of epilepsy
There are many different signs of epilepsy. These can also change in the course of the disease.
- Short pauses in awareness
- Sudden contraction of the body in infants
- Facial twitching and difficulty speaking in childhood
- Loss of consciousness, stiffening, twitching of arms and legs
- Febrile seizures
- Especially with children: partial performance disorders, severe disorders of behavior or intelligence, loss of language
Diagnosis: This is how we diagnose epilepsyFor an exact diagnosis, we will hold a detailed discussion with you, in which we primarily want a detailed description of the seizure. There are also various neurological examinations.
Our range of examinations includes:
- Electroencephalography (EEG): measurement of the brain waveform
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): measurement in a strong electromagnetic field
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT): Measurement of cerebral blood flow and cerebral metabolism through the administration of radioactive substances
- Blood tests
- Lumbar puncture: taking nerve water to rule out other diseases that can also trigger an attack
- Epilepsy monitoring: An EEG is written 24 hours by 8 days, and a video camera records the seizures
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