In its simple form, epilepsy is a common condition that affects the brain and causes seizures. However, it is a complex disorder so understanding epilepsy for yourself, family, or friends is important to help manage the condition.
Electrical activity is happening in our brain all the time. According to the NHS, seizures are bursts of electrical activity in the brain that temporarily affect how it works. They can cause a wide range of symptoms.
Epilepsy can start at any age but usually starts either in childhood or in people over 60. It is often a lifelong condition but can sometimes get slowly better over time.
Understanding Epilepsy and Treatment Options
There are many different types of seizures. They are determined by where in the brain the epileptic activity starts.
Focal (partial) seizures – In these seizures, the epileptic activity starts in just a part of your brain. So you may stay alert in this type of seizure. Sometimes, epileptic activity starts as a focal seizure, spreads to the rest of your brain and becomes a generalised seizure.
Generalised seizures – These seizures involve epileptic activity in both halves of your brain. You lose consciousness during this type of seizure, although sometimes it can be so brief that no one notices. The muscles in your body may stiffen and/or jerk. You may fall down.
What Triggers a Seizure?
Some things make seizures more likely for some people with epilepsy. These are often referred to as ‘triggers’. These can be things like stress, not sleeping well and drinking too much alcohol. Some people say they have more seizures if they miss meals. Not taking your epilepsy medicine is another common trigger. A very small number of people with epilepsy have seizures triggered by lights that flash or flicker. Understanding epilepsy triggers is an important part of case management.
A Neurological Diagnosis
One of the most important parts of getting the right treatment for your seizures is getting the right diagnosis. Doctors base their diagnosis on what they are told about your seizures and understanding epilepsy symptoms. With this information they can refer you to a neurologist. The neurology team can then assess your condition and provide a treatment plan, often with the use of medication.
Contact Dr Paviour
Dr Dominic Paviour is highly rated as a private Neurologist in London, not only by his peers but most importantly, by his patients. His clinics are provided on various days so finding a suitable time and location is straight forward.