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Epilepsy: Seizing More Knowledge

Ever known someone who had seizures? Seizures -- abnormal movement or behavior due to uncommon electrical activity in the brain -- are a symptom of epilepsy. Epilepsy is a relatively common condition, affecting about 2.5 million people Americans.

In a typically healthy brain (not that people with epilepsy are sick, mind you), signaling between nerve cells is required for communication and is used to carry out all processes in the body, including movement. When nerve cells fire off haphazardly, they can cause a seizure. While one seizure can occur under certain conditions in most anyone, epilepsy is a condition where somebody experiences multiple seizures. These individuals will require medication and other therapies to control seizures.

There are multiple types of injuries to the brain that can cause epilepsy and the related seizures. That said, it doesn’t mean that you are going to develop epilepsy based on the conditions listed below. However, these instances can increase your odds of developing seizures and epilepsy:

•trauma to the head and brain
•stroke
•brain tumor
•certain medications
•fever
•alcohol withdrawal
•an infection
•metabolic conditions like low blood sugar, low sodium, or low calcium levels
•diseases that are degenerative like Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease
•inherited condition

Epilepsy treatment's goal is to treat, and prevent, seizures. In some instances, seizures occur because of the presence of a chemical, infection, or other condition. These types of seizures can be stopped by treating the fever, the poisoning or chemical imbalance, low blood sugar or the infection, if this is the discovered cause.

Seizures resulting from epilepsy can usually be treated with a variety of medications. Sometimes, only one drug may work to control seizures, but other drugs may be added to help control the seizures' occurences.

In rare cases, when seizures cannot be controlled, regardless of the medications tried, surgery may be another option. Surgery may include removing the portion of the brain that is identified as the origin of abnormal the seizure. Vagal nerve stimulation, which involves an implanted device to regulate electrical brain impulses, is also an option.

Educational, social, and psychological treatment are all part of a complete treatment plan for epilepsy. The most important thing to know is to seek help as soon as coping seems difficult Epilepsy is best managed by a team of medical specialists, so someone with epilepsy not only has medical support, but also psychosocial and educational help. If there are problems with school, work, or daily activities, it's vital to discuss it plans of action.

Taking action early will help in understanding and dealing with the many effects and challenges associated with epilepsy for the individual and loved ones. Learning to manage stress will help maintain a positive physical, emotional, and spiritual outlook. There are many specialists who can help including social workers, financial counselors, and many others so that the highest level of healthy, happiness and success can be achieved and maintained. Epilepsy does not have to mean an end to a quality life in the slightest.


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