Epilepsy is a chronic disease characterized by repeated seizures caused by abnormal electrical signals produced by damaged brain cells. A burst of uncontrolled electrical activity within brain cells causes a seizure
Dr. GV Subbaiah Chowdhury, Senior Consultant, said, “Epilepsy is the most common chronic brain disease and affects people of all ages. More than 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy; about 80% of them live in low- and middle-income countries. It is estimated that in India The overall prevalence of epilepsy is 5.59-10 per 1000. People with epilepsy are at risk for two life-threatening conditions: tonic-clonic status epilepticus and sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP).”
Symptoms of epilepsy
Signs and symptoms may include:
– Jerky movements of arms and legs.
– Body stiffness.
Loss of consciousness.
– Loss of bowel or bladder control.
– Sudden falls for no apparent reason, especially when associated with loss of consciousness.
Some people may experience flashes or warning signs before a seizure:
– A general strange feeling that is difficult to describe.
– A “rising” feeling in your stomach
– the feeling that the event has happened before (déjà vu)
– Abnormal smell or taste.
– Tingling in your arms and legs.
Causes of epilepsy
“Children and older adults are more likely to develop epilepsy because risk factors are more common in these groups. These include stroke, head injury, complications during childbirth, infections (such as meningitis or cysticercosis), and certain genetic disorders. Often, there can be no specific cause. . will be available,” added Dr GV Subbaiah.
What causes epilepsy?
Dr GV Subbaiah shares that most of the time (up to 70%) the cause of seizures is unknown. Known causes include:
– Genetics. Certain types of epilepsy (such as juvenile myoclonic epilepsy and childhood absence epilepsy) are more likely to run in families (inherited). Although there is some evidence that specific genes are involved, genes only increase the risk of epilepsy and other factors may be involved. There are certain epilepsies that result from abnormalities that affect how brain cells communicate with each other and can lead to abnormal brain signals and seizures.
– Mesial temporal sclerosis. This is a scar that forms in the inner part of your temporal lobe that can give rise to focal seizures.
– Head injury. Head injuries can be caused by vehicle accidents, falls, or head trauma.
Brain infection. Infections can include brain abscesses, meningitis, encephalitis, and neurocysticercosis.
– Immune disorders. Epilepsy can be caused by a condition where your immune system attacks brain cells.
– Developmental disorders. Congenital abnormalities affecting the brain are a frequent cause of epilepsy, especially in those whose seizures are not controlled with anticonvulsant medications. Some of the congenital abnormalities known to cause epilepsy include focal cortical dysplasia, polymicrogyria, and tuberous sclerosis.
Metabolic disorders. People with metabolic conditions can develop epilepsy.
– Brain conditions and brain vessel abnormalities. Brain health problems that can cause epilepsy include brain tumors, stroke, dementia, and abnormal blood vessels, such as arteriovenous malformations.