Epilepsy is a condition which is mostcommonly related to imbalances between the inhibitoryneurotransmitters in our brain and the neurotransmitters in charge ofelectric impulses. When the two are not balanced, the signals sentfrom one hemisphere of the brain to another become dysfunctional,leading to seizures and all other complication which are commonlyrelated to this condition.
The seizures, being the maincharacteristic of epilepsy, can be further divided into twocategories, generalized and partial (focal). Usually, during thediagnosis of this condition, the health experts try to classify thetype of seizure as precisely as possible.
What are Epileptic Seizures?
First and foremost, general epilepticseizures stem from electric impulses being produced throughout thebrain. On the other hand, focal seizures affect a smaller portion ofthis organ. Either way, the part of the brain which produces theinformation related to seizures is medically referred to as thefocus.
Since, as it was mentioned above, thereare numerous different types of seizures, thefollowing lines will give a more detailed classification anddescription.
When the entire brain is involved inseizures, making them generalized ones, the patient is unconsciousand his/her muscles become rigid. This type of seizures is called the clonic tonic seizure and can involve the appearance of convulsionstoo.
Also, a generalized seizure can resultin absence, where the sufferers experience a short-term loss ofconsciousness and succumb to sporadic, jerking movements. The“clonic” from the name of this type of seizures stands forrepetitive jerking movements while the “tonic” is related tothe muscular stiffness and rigidity. Epileptic seizures can also leadto a loss of muscle tone.
Basically, there are six differenttypes of generalized epileptic seizures and the one during which apatient loses his/her consciousness and starts undergoing convulsionsafter collapsing to the ground is the most common one.
The loss of consciousness gets followedby the state of muscular stiffness which lasts from 30 to 60 secondsand the violent jerking movements appear afterwards, lasting for thesame amount of time.
After the seizure has done its course,the epileptic enters a stage of deep sleep and usually wakes upwithout remembering the whole mishap.
During the absence type of seizures,the victim is known to stop all of his/her current activities andenter a silent, still stage which lasts for only a couple of seconds.During this time, the patient experiences a short loss ofconsciousness, staring blankly. He/she is not aware of this conditionand only notices that the time went by without he/she realizing it.
Partial seizures, on the other hand,can be divided into simple and complex ones, as well as those whichare related to secondary generalized seizures. If theseizures of this type are simple, the victim manages to stayconscious while, if the seizures are complex, they fail to do so.
During simple partial seizures, thepatients may experience stiffening, loss of motor functions or eventhe appearance of jerking movements. Sometimes, their senses can beaffected and they might have hallucinations or perceive auras,affecting their smell, taste, vision, touch or hearing.
Some other symptoms of partialepileptic attacks may involve physical symptoms as well, manifestingthrough racing heartbeat, upset stomach, loss of bladder control ordiarrhea. Even memory loss or mixed feelings and attitudes can appearduring these seizures.
Therefore, the patients may perceivethese forms of seizures as something other than epilepsy, fearingthat they have lost their mind. Due to this factor, numeroussuffering individuals refuse to seek help timely.
Surgery for Epilepsy
Surgery is a treatment option for some patients suffering from epilepsy. When successful, it can reduce theeffects of seizures or even remove them completely.
Therefore, surgery is done in order toprevent some of the most common outcomes of epileptic seizures suchas broken bones due to falling, drowning if the seizure happens whilethe patient is in water, brain damage from long-term exposure toseizures or even sudden death, a condition which can also beattributed to epilepsy, even though the occurrence of it is rare.
The surgery itself may take many forms,involving removal of a single portion of the brain or makingincisions in order to disconnect specific parts of the brain.Alternatively, the goal of the surgery may be connecting thedysfunctional bonds between the two hemispheres, which is a commonprocedure done on epileptic children.
Finally, the most radical procedure ofall requires a total removal of a single hemisphere, again mostcommonly done on children who experience epilepsy only in one half oftheir brain.
All in all, there are many types ofepilepsy and many forms of treatment designed for treating thiscondition by helping the affected person control and avoid seizures. Epilepsy should not be ignored. Rather, it should betreated timely and properly through adequate medical support.