What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. It's also called a seizure disorder. When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy.
A seizure happens when a brief, strong surge of electrical activity affects part or all of the brain.
One in 10 people will have a seizure in their lifetime, and 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy.
|Age of onset:
Epilepsy primarily affects the very young and the very old, although anyone can get epilepsy at any time. Twenty percent of cases develop before the age of five. Fifty percent develop before the age of 25. It is increasingly associated with the elderly, and there are as many cases of epilepsy in those 60 years of age and older as in children 10 years of age and under.
In about 70% of cases there is no known cause. Of the remaining 30%, the following are the most frequent causes:
|Cause 1||Cause 2||Cause 3||Cause 4||Cause 5|
|Brain tumor and/or stroke.||Head trauma, especially from automobile accidents, gunshot wounds, sports accidents, and falls and blows. The more severe the injury, the greater the risk of developing epilepsy.||Poisoning, such as lead poisoning, and substance abuse. For example, more than 5,000 persons each year are reported to suffer seizures caused by alcoholism.||Infection, such as meningitis, viral encephalitis, lupus erythematosus and, less frequently, mumps, measles, diphtheria and others.||Maternal injury, infection or systemic illness that affects the developing brain of the fetus during pregnancy.|
What are the different types of seizures?
• Generalized Tonic Clonic also known as Grand Mal
• Absence also known as petit mal
• Complex Partial also known as psychomotor or temporal lobe
• Atonic Seizures also known as drop attacks
• Myoclonic Seizures
• Infantile Spasms
For more information on what different types of seizures look like and how to respond click here.
A death is referred to as a SUDEP when a seemingly healthy person with epilepsy dies unexpectedly, and no reason for the death can be found. For more information, click here.
Nonepileptic seizures or events are not related to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. There is a wide range of reasons they may occur including psychological, due to other medical conditions, or because the person is trying to communicate something. However, they are real events no matter what is causing them. In order to have a good understanding of why they are occurring the individual’s medical team needs to be involved and medical evaluation is required to diagnose. There is a lot that it is unknown about the condition. It is also possible to have both epileptic and non-epileptic seizures or events.
They can also be referred to as psychogenic seizures, pseudoseizures, cryptogenic or non-epileptic attack disorder.
For more information on NEEs click here.