Ways & How

how to know if you have epilepsy

how to know if you have epilepsy

Epilepsy, commonly known as seizures, refers to a diverse set of neurological problems chiefly characterized by seizure attacks. Epileptic seizures occur due to excessive and irregular hypersynchronous brain activities. This disorder can occur at any age, although infants and elderly are the group of people commonly affected. Nearly 50 million people all over the world are affected by epilepsy, and about 90 percent of it happens in Third World or developing countries. There are useful guidelines on how to know if you have epilepsy. As explained in wisegeek.com, what makes epilepsy dangerous is the fact it starts inside the brain which is the main motor organ of the body. If the brain is impaired, a seizure is likely to occur. To help you identify if you have epilepsy, consider the guidelines below:

  1. Recognize initial symptoms. At the onset right before the seizure attack, see if you are dizzy or just feeling so strange all over your body. Other common signs include: headache, tingling feelings, nausea, agitation, and blurred vision.

    These symptoms may not mean a seizure at first, but over time you will be able to recognize them.

  2. Study the precipitants for a seizure attack. Epilepsy is usually diagnosed through the spontaneous occurrence of seizures. However, there are epilepsy syndromes which require a triggering factor for a seizure to happen. For instance, if the attack is triggered by the flashing of lights, that is called photosensitive epilepsy. If triggered by reading, that is called primary reading epilepsy. If the attack is associated to the menstrual period in women, that is called catamenial epilepsy. Also, children diagnosed with childhood absence epilepsy are vulnerable to hyperventilation.

  3. Study the types of epilepsy and their symptoms. Seizures can affect the whole brain or just a portion of it. While there are attacks that cannot result in unconsciousness, your sensory perceptions for hearing and smelling may be altered. Seizures come in many forms with different signs and symptoms.

  4. Partial seizures. Symptoms include: instinctive contraction of the limbs, sensory perceptions of flashing lights, tingling, vertigo, rubbing of hands, chewing, pacing circularly, or swallowing.

  5. Absence or petit mal seizures. Symptoms include: blinking, unknowingly picking at your clothing, and staring blankly or looking in no specific direction.

  6. Myoclonic seizures. Symptoms include: impulsive jerking of the legs and arms akin to an electric shock.

  7. Atonic or drop seizures. Symptoms include: abrupt loss of muscle tone which can cause the body to suddenly drop down onto the floor.

  8. Tonic-clonic seizures. Symptoms include: stiffening of the body. You will likely become unconscious first before the limbs start to shake.

  9. Undergo an EEG exam. As explained by Medline Plus in nlm.nih.gov, this electroencephalogram test gives accurate results in detecting abnormalities in the brain’s electrical activity. The test can detect seizure attacks even if during the exam you are not having seizure attacks. Before seeing the doctor for an EEG test, take a good bath and dry your hair. A technician will guide you on how to go through the examination. The procedure is very simple, and it won’t hurt at all.

Epilepsy cannot be cured by medication, but it can be controlled. However, even with the recent technological breakthroughs in treating the disease, more than 30 percent of epileptic patients cannot control their seizure attacks. In serious cases, surgery may be an option. While some of the epilepsy syndromes are limited to a particular stage during one’s childhood years, others are said to be permanent. Saying that epilepsy is a single disorder is a misnomer. Rather, it is syndromic with diverse indications all relating to the periodic, abnormal brain activities. Suspecting that you are prone to epilepsy is not enough. Always refer to the items discussed above on how to know if you have epilepsy. In that way, you will be able to address the syndrome properly.


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