There are not a lot of people in the world who have never heard of epilepsy or do not know anyone who suffers from it. Epilepsy means that a person who suffers from it has seizures. These seizures are not always called that and are also known as convulsions, fits or spells.
People should know that these seizures occur when there is an unusual electrical activity in the brain. Electrical signals are used by brain cells to send information throughout the body. Thanks to these signals, the muscles move.
When there is a disturbance with the signals, a person experiences a seizure. These fits may come all of a sudden and that is the case in most situations. When a person has a seizure, his muscles tighten and relax quite fast. In situations when brain cells send out too much information a person experiences a seizure due to an overload. There is no rule on how often a person will have seizures. Some people have them rarely, while others too often.
What is a seizure?
In most cases a seizure occurs all of a sudden. Some people may have some sort of a feeling that a fit is coming while some have found what things cause them to occur.
Seizures may look dangerous but people need to know that they do not cause pain. There is no one type of seizure and a person may experience a seizure of different severity. Some people will shake, stiffen and drool, while others may simply stare into space. In most cases after a fit, a person will feel sleepy and will not remember what happened.
Who has epilepsy?
According to the data, over 2 million people in the United States suffer from epilepsy. People are of all ages and races. In most cases seizures start before the age of 15 or after a person is older than 65.
There is still no known cause of epilepsy. It is not hereditary and it is not contagious.
How can doctors help?
When a person who has seizures goes to the hospital, the doctor will order some tests like a CAT scan, an EEG and an MRI. Thanks to these tests the doctor will determine why a person has seizures. People should know that 50% of all kids who have a seizure never have one again.
In most cases medicines are used to control epilepsy. When they do not help, there is need for a special diet or even surgery.