Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by seizures. The short episodes of intense electrical impulses in the brain triggers the seizures. Once these episodes occur in one region of the brain, it is called as a partial seizure. If it occurs all over the brain, it is called as a generalized seizure. They can trigger symptoms all over the body.
Indication of epilepsy with generalized seizures
The generalized seizures follow a basic pattern. Initially, the muscles start to stiffen and turn rigid. There are also violent muscular contractions where the muscles move in rapid, random spasms. The individual loses consciousness or blacks out, thus not aware of what is happening.
During a generalized seizure, the individual might:
- Lock his/her jaw
- Bite the cheek or tongue
- Turn bluish in the face
- Lose control of the bowel and bladder
Prior to the start of a seizure, the individual might have erratic changes in emotions, taste, smell and vision.
After a seizure, the individual will have no memory of the event. The individual will feel normal again or experience the following:
What are the causes?
- Changes in the structure of the brain
- Head trauma
- Infections of the brain such as encephalitis or meningitis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Brain tumor
- Congenital conditions
Some individuals might experience a seizure due to other causes other than epilepsy. One episode of a seizure might be triggered by high fever, loss of oxygen or a serious head injury.
What are the possible risk factors?
If an individual has epilepsy, certain lifestyle factors might increase the risk for experiencing seizures such as the following:
- Lack of sleep
- Emotional stress
- Use of new vitamins, drugs or supplements
- Illnesses such as infections
- Alcohol or recreational drug use
Medications such as anticonvulsants are utilized to prevent seizures that must be taken as directed to be effective. The side effects such as birth defects can occur from some medications that are utilized for managing epilepsy with generalized seizures.
In some cases, surgery is also a possible treatment option where the doctor might get rid of the abnormal brain cells responsible for triggering the seizures, placement of a vagus nerve stimulator to reduce the episodes, eliminate tumors or deal with any irregular blood vessels in the brain.