Epilepsy and seizures are often used interchangeably but there’s a difference between them. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder caused due to abnormal brain activity which results in a series of seizures and other complications like loss of consciousness and behavioral changes. Seizures, on the other hand, occur because of the misfiring of multiple neurons in the brain which causes muscle spasms, twitching of muscles, or loss of awareness in some serious cases. Any external or internal stimulus which interferes with the electrical activity of the brain can cause a seizure, but epilepsy is a much more serious neurological disorder. Hence, we can say that all seizures may not be epileptic.
What are the different types of Epilepsy?
According to the experts, epilepsy can be divided into 2 broad categories which are based on the type of seizure one is experiencing, the categories are as follows
(1.) Generalized Epilepsy: The term generalized here refers to the fact that in this type of seizure, the neural transmission of all the areas of the brain is hampered. This condition is further sub-divided into six types.
(a.) Absence Seizures: Also known as petit mal seizures, This type of seizure generally happens in children. They last for about 5-10 seconds and result in the loss of body moments like blinking. These types of seizures may also occur in series say like 100 times in a day, and can cause loss of awareness (Being absent) for a noticeable period, hence the name Absence Seizures.
(b.) Tonic Seizures: Seizures of this type cause stiffness in the muscles around the area of one’s back, arms, and legs. The most common area of effect is the legs, hence they could cause one to fall and get injured if they occur while one is occupied in everyday routine.
(c.) Atonic Seizures: These seizures are the polar opposite of tonic seizures, as they cause a total loss of muscle control that results in relaxing the muscles completely. This type of seizure generally affects the legs and hence could cause one to fall and sustain a serious injury.
(d.) Clonic Seizures: Clonic seizures cause a recurring and rhythmic jerking movement of muscles usually affecting the muscles around the neck, face, and arms.
(e.) Myoclonic Seizures: This type of seizure is similar to clonic seizures, the only difference is that myoclonic seizures cause the jerking sensation of the muscles for a short interval of time whereas Clonic Seizures cause prolonged periods of uncontrollable muscle twitching.
(f.) Tonic-Clonic Seizures: Previously referred to as grand mal seizures, these are the types of seizures that we get the picture In our mind whenever we hear about a seizure. They cause twitching, shaking, and stiffening of the muscles all around the body, and may also cause loss of consciousness in extreme cases.
(2.) Focal Seizures: Also referred to as Partial Seizure, Just as the name suggests, seizures of this type are caused due to abnormal brain activity in just one part of one’s brain. This type of seizure is also subdivided as follows:
(a.) Focal Aware Seizure: If one is fully conscious or aware of what is happening to the body amidst the episode of the seizure, The seizure is referred to as Focal Aware
(b.) Focal Impaired Awareness Seizures: Also known as “Complex Partial Seizure”, If one can’t fully recall what happened during the episode of the seizure, the seizure is referred to as impaired awareness seizure.
(c.) Focal Non-Motor Seizure: The seizure of this type doesn’t involve any muscular twitches or movements, rather it causes an intense wave of emotions accompanied by a rapid heartbeat.
What causes Epilepsy?
The exact cause of Epilepsy is unknown to date, however, certain factors have shown a strong correlation with Epilepsy.
(1.) Trauma Of Head: Head trauma caused by accidents or other traumatic injury is shown to cause epilepsy.
(2.) Brain Disorders: Problems like brain tumors and vascular malformations can cause epilepsy, although the leading cause of Epilepsy is Stroke, when happens in people over the age of 35, There’s a very high probability that the stoke will cause epilepsy. Dementia is also shown to correlate with Epilepsy.
(3.) Developmental and Genetical Disorder: Developmental disorders such as autism can also cause epilepsy, if there’s a history of epilepsy in the family then it’s a very high probability that the person can develop epilepsy in the days to come.
How to act to help someone is Experiencing A Seizure?
The step you can take if someone is having a seizure are as follows:
(a.) Make the person lie on the ground comfortably.
(b.) To help the person breathe, turn them onto one side gently.
(c.) Put the head of the person on something soft like a folded jacket or shirt.
(d.) Put away all the sharp objects from the person.
Keep a rough estimate of time for the seizure and if the seizure doesn’t stop after 5 minutes, call an ambulance as it’s an emergency condition. Do not attempt to do the following things with the person having a seizure:
Don’t try to manually stop the jerking movements by holding the person down.
Don’t try to give any oral medicine to the person amidst the seizure.
Don’t attempt CPR, people usually start normal breathing as soon as the seizure stops.
What can one do to manage Epilepsy?
It doesn’t matter if one has experienced a seizure or not, following the tips will provide an overall healthy life, and here’s a shocking fact – Everyone experiences a seizure – conscious or unconscious – at least once in their life.
(a.) Take regular medicines as prescribed by the doctor.
(b.) Get at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
(c.) Get 10 minutes of regular exercise every day.
(d.) Do breathing practices to lower your stress levels.
When to seek a doctor immediately?
(1.) If the seizure lasts for more than 5 minutes, and a second seizure follows it simultaneously.
(2.) Normal breathing and consciousness are not restored even after the seizure is gone.
(3.) Experiencing seizure despite taking anti-seizure medicines.
(4.) If the person gets injured during the episode of seizure.
(5.) The person starts to develop a fever after the seizure.
If you observe any of the above conditions, especially the first two, call an ambulance as soon as possible, if you are in Hyderabad, You can call Malla Reddy Narayana At 87903-87903 for a Multi-Speciality Ambulance at your service.