Epilepsy is a complex neurological disease of a chronic type. It is characterized by numerous epileptic seizures in the form of motor, autonomic and mental disorders caused by an excessive discharge of brain neutrons. During an attack, a person completely loses control over their own actions.
The disease is a common neurological pathology from which every hundredth inhabitant of the planet suffers. In this case, seizures can be caused by a number of other factors: a brain tumor or traumatic brain injury. Often they are not associated with the presence of epilepsy in the patient. Therefore, it is very important that the doctor conducts the correct differential diagnosis and determines the exact cause of the development of symptoms.
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Causes of epilepsy
Despite significant advances in the field of neurology, the exact causes of epilepsy have not yet been established. But there is a clear hereditary predisposition – up to 40% of all epileptic seizures occur in patients with relatives who have suffered from the disease.
If one parent suffers from the disease, the probability of inheritance to the child is 6%, if both – 12%.
Other factors that can cause epileptic syndrome include:
- Malignant and benign brain tumors (altering the structure of the brain tissue or putting pressure on its parts);
- Postponed hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke;
- Traumatic brain injury;
- Infectious lesions of the central nervous system: encephalitis or meningitis.
The disease is always accompanied by repeated attacks, their appearance can be associated with a wide range of secondary factors, including: lack of sleep, menstrual cycle, drug and alcohol use, severe stress, etc.
Signs and symptoms of epilepsy
Like other neurological diseases, epilepsy can be recognized by a number of specific signs and symptoms, the intensity of which directly depends on the severity of the disease. In most cases, the attack is preceded by: a feeling of numbness of the tongue, excessive irritability, dizziness, sleep disturbance, loss of appetite, general weakness and headache.
Before the onset of a seizure, patients have a short-term feeling of aura, after which loss of consciousness is possible. After the seizure is over, the signs of the disease disappear, but cognitive impairment and various non-specific symptoms may be observed.
What happens to a person during an epileptic seizure?
Most experienced epileptics can predict the onset of a seizure. But many patients have an attack at the most unexpected moment. It proceeds according to the following scenario:
- In the first seconds of an attack, a person feels a spasm in the glottis, unintelligible shouts are possible;
- The ability to control movements is lost, tonic convulsions appear with full body tension and a characteristic throwing back of the head;
- Intermittent breathing is audible, blood vessels swell in the neck area, anemic (blanching) of the skin is observed;
- Due to the cramps, the jaws are tightly clenched. People often bite their own tongue;
- There are jerky convulsive movements of the neck, limbs and the whole body;
- Foam flows out of the mouth, the tongue sinks, noisy hoarse breathing appears (this phase is the longest and can take up to 3 minutes);
- Disappearance of convulsive phenomena and complete relaxation of the muscles of the body.
Treatment of epilepsy
Only a specialized doctor should conduct treatment, based on the data of the initial examination, the results of analyzes (electroencephalography, computed tomography of the brain, MRI and general clinical studies), as well as taking into account the individual characteristics of the organism.
All methods of treatment (conservative and surgical) are aimed at preventing the development of new attacks, improving the quality and comfort of life, as well as further discontinuation of medication.
First aid for epilepsy
In order to provide first aid to a person who has had an epileptic seizure with a classic clinical picture, the following steps must be taken:
- A person who has fallen in a seizure must be put on his side and put some soft object under his head (jacket, pillow, scarf, bag) – this will avoid injuries during seizures;
- There is no need to forcibly hold a person, pour water on him, open his mouth or insert any objects into his mouth – this will not give the desired effect, but can only harm;
- Make sure that the patient does not sink his tongue and does not block his breathing;
- If the seizure has not ended within 5 minutes after the start, you must immediately call an ambulance;
- After completing the seizure and relaxing the muscles, put the person in a position that is comfortable for him, stay with him until his consciousness returns to normal.
Use the above rules and you can help someone with epilepsy!