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People who Suffer from Epileptic Seizures

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People who Suffer from Epileptic Seizures

This project is for those who Suffer From Epileptic Seizures, but is NOT a cause of death.

Also known as: fit, seizure, brain disorder, muscle spasms, epilepsy

Definition:

  • A seizure is a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain. An epileptic seizure (colloquially a fit) is a brief episode of signs or symptoms due to abnormal excessive or synchronous neuronal activity in the brain. The outward effect can vary from uncontrolled jerking movement (tonic-clonic seizure) to as subtle as a momentary loss of awareness (absence seizure).
  • Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which clusters of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain sometimes signal abnormally causing strange sensations, emotions, and behavior, or sometimes convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness.
    • Epilepsy is usually diagnosed only after a person has had more than one seizure.
    • Each year, about 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with the central nervous system disorder that causes seizures. Over a lifetime, one in 26 people will be diagnosed with it.

Seizure vs. Seizure Disorders

Seizure terminology can be confusing. Though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, a seizure and seizure disorders are different. A seizure refers to a single surge of electrical activity in your brain. A seizure disorder (epilepsy), on the other hand, is when a person has had multiple seizures.

What happens in the brain during a seizure?

  • The electrical activity is caused by complex chemical changes that occur in nerve cells.
  • Seizures are not a disease in themselves. Instead, they are a symptom of many different disorders that can affect the brain. Some seizures can hardly be noticed, while others are totally disabling.
  • The nature of seizures varies, because the lobes of the brain control different behaviors, movements and experiences.

History

The word epilepsy derives from the Greek word for "attack."[56] Seizures were long viewed as an otherworldly condition being referred to by Hippocrates in 400B.C. as "the sacred disease".

In the mid 1800s the first anti seizure medication, bromide, was introduced. Following standardization proposals devised by Henri Gastaut and published in 1970, terms such as "petit mal", "grand mal", "Jacksonian", "psychomotor", and "temporal-lobe seizure" have fallen into disuse.

Classification

Seizure types are organized by whether the source of the seizure is localized (focal seizures) or distributed (generalized seizures) within the brain. Generalized seizures are divided according to the effect on the body and include tonic-clonic (grand mal), absence (petit mal), myoclonic, clonic, tonic, and atonic seizures. Some seizures such as epileptic spasms are of an unknown type.

Focal seizures (previously called partial seizures) are divided into simple partial or complex partial seizure. Current practice no longer recommends this, and instead prefers to describe what occurs during a seizure

Causes

Seizures have a number of causes. Of those with seizure about 25% have epilepsy. A number of conditions are associated with seizures but are not epilepsy including: most febrile seizures and those that occur around an acute infection, stroke, or toxicity. These seizures are known as "acute symptomatic" or "provoked" seizures and are part of the seizure-related disorders. In many the cause is unknown.

Prognosis

A person’s prognosis depends entirely on the type of epilepsy they have and the seizures it causes.

More than 60 percent of people will respond positively to the first anti-epileptic drug prescribed to them. Others may require additional assistance finding a medicine that is most effective. Almost all patients will find relief from their epilepsy symptoms with a medication.

After being seizure-free for about two to five years, 50 percent of patients will be able to stop using their anti-epileptic medicines.

Worldwide Facts

Worldwide, 50 million people have epilepsy. Almost 80 percent of these people live in developing regions of the world.

Epilepsy can be successfully treated, but more than 75 percent of patients living in developing areas do not receive the treatment they need for their seizures.

Tips to Live with Seizures/Epilepsy

  • It is important to let people know if you experience seizures or epilepsy. Educating friends, family, caregivers, and co-workers on what to do if you have a seizure is the first step to avoiding injury during a seizure.
  • The National Institutes of Health has established guidelines for what to do if someone is having a seizure:
    • Roll the person on his or her side to prevent choking or vomiting.
    • Cushion the person’s head.
    • Loosen any tight clothing around the neck.
    • Keep the person’s airway open. If necessary, grip the person’s jaw gently and tilt his or her head back.
    • Do not restrict the person from moving unless he or she is in danger.
    • Do not put anything in the person’s mouth, not even medicine or liquid.
    • Remove any sharp or solid objects that the person might hit during the seizure.
    • Note how long the seizure lasts and what symptoms occurred in order to inform a doctor or emergency personnel if necessary.
    • Stay with the person until the seizure ends.

Notable People with Epilepsy