A chronic neurological condition, Epilepsy is characterized by recurrent and unprovoked seizures. Epilepsy is most commonly controlled through the use of various medications, but can sometimes patients will even undergo surgical procedures to try and further control the condition.
As mentioned above the main characteristic of epilepsy is the presence of recurrent and unprovoked seizures, this is the main diagnosis requirement. A seizure is a temporary alteration in brain functions that expresses itself into a changed mental state, tonic or clonic movement among other symptoms. Seizures are due to temporary abnormal electrical activity of a group of brain cells.
Typically tests such as: EEG, brain MRI, SPECT, PET, and magnetoencephalography to help constrict the affect area of the brain as well as classify the epileptic syndrome. All of these different tests however, are not actually usefull in the orginal diagnosis. The ‘Platinum’ standard for diagnosis is through the long-term video-EEG monitoring for epilepsy. High costs and inconvenience however make this method not as wide spread as one might think.
Although all of the symptoms of epilepsy are not known, many predisposing factors have been identified. These factors include brain damage that result from malformations during:
- brain development
- brain tumor
- high fever
- head trauma
- penetrating wounds of the brain
- acute or inborn disturbances of metabolism
- neurosurgical operations
- bacterial or viral encephalitis
It is also known that hereditary or genetic factors also play a large role in the prevalence of seizures. Typically, Epilepsy is treated with medication that is prescribed by a physician. Generally primary caregivers, neurologists, and neurosurgeons care for people with epilepsy. In many cases a special diet or the implantation of a stimulator of the vagus nerve can help to reduce the likelyhood of concurrent seizures. Good emergency response is extremely important to help the individual from self-injuring him/herself; injuries such as falling off edges, or injury from sharp objects are common.
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