Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder, known to cause seizures in affected people. Depending on the type of epilepsy people may seem to be lost in time and space for several seconds or minutes or experience convulsions of the whole body, biting their tongue and foaming the mouth.
Scientific data show that 2 out of every 100 people living in the United States have had some kind of unprovoked seizures at least once in their life. This does not mean that all these people have or had epilepsy. To confirm epilepsy diagnosis, a person is supposed to have at least 2 unprovoked seizures.
What can Increase the Risk of Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is more commonly diagnosed in children and elderly patients. Although people of any age can develop this neurological disorder, it is more likely to be seen in kids and patients over 65 years of age. Also, men are found to be exposed to somewhat greater risk of developing epilepsy than women.
People who have a close relative suffering from epilepsy are also frequently diagnosed with this condition themselves.
This condition has to be treated to decrease the frequency and intensity of seizures. Some children simply grow out of seizures. Prolonged seizures in childhood age (because of some extremely high body temperature) are also considered as risk factors for development of this neurological problem, especially among children with relatives suffering from epilepsy.
Epilepsy may occur in people who had brain infection. Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, known as meningitis, is one of brain conditions associated with increased risk of epilepsy. Vascular diseases, stroke and head injuries can also lead to development of epileptic seizures in some people.
In order to prevent epilepsy associated with head injury, make sure to wear a belt in the car and a helmet when riding the bike, motorcycle or skiing. Healthy diet, regular exercise and limitation of alcohol, as well as avoidance of cigarettes are also beneficial, decreasing the chances to develop vascular problems and consequent epilepsy.
Epilepsy can Be Complicated
Epilepsy must be treated, because of all problems these patients may have during everyday activities such as swimming or driving a car. Having an epileptic attack may provoke various falls, drowning or car accidents.
Pregnant women may endanger the baby if the condition is left untreated. However, if you are pregnant, discuss the treatment with your doctor, for some medications are known to be harmful for the unborn child.
This condition may be very hard for patients and some of them additionally suffer from depression and anxiety. There are also epileptic patients who become suicidal.
Status epilepticus is a very serious epilepsy complication, which may cause permanent brain damage or even lethal outcome if not treated promptly. Another rare complication is sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP).