Most Common Cause Of Seizures In Adults – Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes a disruption in the electrical network of a person’s brain. These disturbances send irregular signals to the rest of the body, resulting in what we call a seizure. Approximately 3.4 million people in the United States live with the condition, which means more people with epilepsy than autism spectrum disorder, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy combined, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.
Despite the common diagnosis, misconceptions about epilepsy are common. For example, seizures do not always involve violent convulsions. Most epileptic seizures are subtle and last only a few seconds. This condition can usually be successfully treated with medication or surgery.
- 1 Most Common Cause Of Seizures In Adults
- 2 Understanding The Different Types Of Epileptic Seizures And How They Manifest
- 3 Symptoms, Causes And Risks Of Epilepsy
- 4 Cysticercosis: Overview, Symptoms & Treatment
Most Common Cause Of Seizures In Adults
“It’s important for people to know that there are many types of epilepsy, especially in children,” says Alison May, MD, a pediatric neurologist in the Epilepsy Surveillance Program at New York-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital. “Many people think of epilepsy as just one specific type where children have seizures and significant cognitive impairment. But it can vary greatly, and families need to know that epilepsy is not a lifelong seizure with learning disabilities.
Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizure: An Empathetic, Practical Approach
“Epilepsy shouldn’t have the frustration associated with epilepsy,” adds David Chuang, M.D., an assistant neurologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “Most people control their epilepsy with anti-seizure medication and are able to lead a perfectly normal life.”
Dr. Chuang, also an assistant professor of clinical neurology at Weill Cornell Medical School, and Dr. May, an assistant professor of neurology at Columbia University’s Vagelos School of Medicine and Surgery, spoke to learn more about living with epilepsy. How it affects adults and children.
An epileptic seizure involves abnormal electrical activity in neurons in your brain, says Dr. Chuang. Depending on where this abnormal electrical activity in the brain originates and if it spreads to other parts of the brain, a person will have different seizure symptoms.
A seizure can be confined to one part of the brain, or it can spread, Dr. May adds. A seizure is considered a generalized seizure if the entire brain is involved, where only one part of the brain seems to be activated, or it may be a focal seizure.
Understanding The Different Types Of Epileptic Seizures And How They Manifest
No. Epilepsy means you have unprovoked seizures and are at high risk for more unprovoked seizures, Dr. Chuang says. There are other conditions that can cause seizures, such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or alcohol withdrawal. If these are the causes of a seizure, the person is not classified as having epilepsy, because in those cases, they are provoked seizures and you need to address the underlying condition.
There is no one type of seizure, Dr. Chuang explains. They range from the odd sensation of experiencing a strange taste, feeling like déjà vu, or seeing a blank stare to the big shocks you might see in movies or TV shows. They can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Some people with epilepsy may have seizures once a year, but others may have them several times a day.
With epilepsy, the seizures in a person are repeated and look similar, says Dr. Chuang. For example, if a person constantly experiences the same strange smell or the same type of twitching, that puts it on the radar as a possibility of epilepsy, which should be checked out by a doctor.
The gold standard for diagnosing epilepsy is to capture the actual seizure on a video electroencephalogram (EEG). This is a procedure in which doctors videotape a patient while monitoring the brain’s electrical activity so they can try to capture a seizure on video and correlate it with the patient’s brain activity. However, seizures on EEG can be difficult, says Dr. Chuang. Other helpful tests that can help make a diagnosis include taking a careful history of the patient, seeing if what they’re experiencing is consistent with seizures, or using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look for abnormalities in the brain that could cause seizures.
Symptoms, Causes And Risks Of Epilepsy
Once epilepsy is diagnosed and the doctor knows whether it is a focal or generalized seizure, he can decide which is the best choice.
The symptoms and diagnosis of epilepsy are generally the same in adults and children, but with a few key differences, says Dr. May. Some children may be too young to explain what’s going on, where they feel something – they don’t have the words to express it. In such a case, a provider will ask the parents many questions, as the diagnosis depends in part on the caregiver’s records and what they observe. Caregivers can be asked to send videos so their doctor can see what’s going on.
They can, too, if a child seems out of place and doesn’t respond to their name being called or touched, or if a child has a developmental delay or setback, or has a sudden educational challenge that wasn’t there before. Mark something happening in the brain. If there is concern, parents should talk to their pediatrician and refer to a neurologist. It’s easy to get a referral, and there’s no risk in getting an EEG to see if your child is struggling with seizures.
There are several reasons. For adults, Dr. Chuang says, epilepsy is caused by a brain injury — whether it’s from a stroke, brain tumor, head trauma, brain infection, or bleeding in the brain such as a ruptured aneurysm or subarachnoid hemorrhage. Most adults develop epilepsy due to a small, abnormal brain development that causes no symptoms throughout their lives but causes epilepsy in adulthood. It is also not uncommon for the cause of epilepsy to go undiagnosed.
Cysticercosis: Overview, Symptoms & Treatment
In children, there are several age-related conditions that are more likely to cause epilepsy, such as genetic changes or a hypoxic ischemic injury to the brain. A hypoxic ischemic injury is like a stroke but occurs during delivery, where the baby’s brain is deprived of oxygen. Seizures caused by cortical dysplasia, a developmental abnormality in which part of the brain does not develop properly, are more common in children than in adults.
Almost everyone, children and adults diagnosed with epilepsy, is started on an anti-seizure medication. If the first drug doesn’t work, your doctor may add a second or third drug, but if those don’t work, epilepsy surgery may be considered if the patient qualifies for it. In epilepsy surgery, doctors first find where the seizures are coming from in the brain, and if they can do so without causing significant negative side effects, they remove that area of the brain, Dr. Chuang explains.
If medications do not work and the patient is not a candidate for surgery, another option is nerve stimulation. Surgery involves placing a device under the skin on a person’s chest to stimulate the vagus nerve (the nerve that runs from the brain through the chest) or send electrical signals to help control impulses directly to the brain.
Generally, people with epilepsy end up taking the medication for the rest of their lives, says Dr. Chuang. Some people stop having seizures when the medication is taken off after epilepsy surgery, and some people stop taking the medication because they have been seizure-free for a long time, and they actually have seizures after the medication is stopped. -free.
Epilepsy: Symptoms, Causes, Complications And What You Can Do
Yes. Dr. May explains that some children may develop epilepsy syndromes. This is different from adults. Some children may have seizures at an early age, and they may outgrow them as they get older, usually in the teenage years. The goal is always to achieve what Dr. May says, which is seizure-free, and then, based on a thorough evaluation, determine if the child is able to come off their medication. If a child has a normal EEG, normal MRI, and normal development, he or she would be a good candidate to try weaning the medication when he or she reaches two years of seizure freedom. Doctors don’t really know why children develop epilepsy, but scientists are doing research to find out more.
Epilepsy can be a scary diagnosis, says Dr. Chuang. If it is not controlled, a person cannot do many things on their own, like swimming or driving a car, because they do not know when they will have a seizure. However, those whose epilepsy is well controlled, whether it be with medication or surgery, are usually able to lead a normal life. A commonly known seizure causes uncontrollable shaking and movements. But in other types, a person may collapse or become very immobile. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell when someone is having a seizure.
Neurons, or nerve cells, send information from your brain to your body. They do this by releasing electrical impulses
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