Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterised by abnormal brain activity manifested in the form of seizures, unusual behaviour, and sometimes loss of awareness. It may affect both males and females of all races, ages, and ethnic backgrounds equally.
The symptoms of epilepsy vary greatly, ranging from blank stares for a few seconds to repeated twitching of arms and legs. Having a single episode of seizure does not mean you have epilepsy. Epilepsy is diagnosed when there are at least two episodes of seizures without an identifiable cause happening at least 24 hours apart. Other symptoms of epilepsy include temporary confusion, stiff muscles, loss of awareness or consciousness, and uncontrollable jerking movements of the legs or arms. Epilepsy can also give rise to psychological symptoms like anxiety, fear, or deja vu.
The symptoms of epilepsy are brought under control by medications and surgery in the majority of patients. Some patients need lifelong treatment to keep the disease under control, while in others, the seizures go away eventually.
Generally, seizures are classified as either generalised or focal, depending on how and where the aberrant brain activity begins.
Focal seizures are those that appear due to abnormal activity in a single area of the brain. Symptoms of focal seizures are similar to other neurological disorders like narcolepsy, migraine, or mental illness and, therefore, may sometimes be confused. To distinguish epilepsy from other neurological disorders, thorough examination and testing are required.
Generalised seizures involve all areas of the brain and are further divided into six types- absence, tonic, clonic, myoclonic, and tonic-clonic seizures. Absence seizures or petit mal seizures generally occur in children and are characterised by staring into space in the absence of subtle body movements like lip smacking or eye blinking. Each episode lasts for around 5-10 seconds. These seizures may repeat upto 100 times per day, resulting in a brief loss of awareness.
Tonic seizures result in stiff muscles and altered consciousness. They usually affect the muscles of the arms, legs, and back and may cause the person to lose balance and fall. Atonic or drop seizures lead to a loss of muscle control. These seizures usually affect the leg muscles, causing the person to collapse or fall down.
Clonic seizures are characterised by jerking, rhythmic, or repetitive muscle movements. They usually affect the face, arms, and neck. Myoclonic seizures generally occur as sudden twitches or brief jerks and affect the arms, legs, and upper body.
Tonic-clonic or grand mal seizures are known to be the most dramatic type of seizures. They lead to an abrupt loss of consciousness and stiffening, shaking, and twitching of the body. They can result in loss of bladder control or accidental tongue biting.
You must reach out for immediate medical care if you face any of the following situations:
The Department of Neurosciences at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Navi Mumbai houses some of the Best Epilepsy Treatment Doctors in Navi Mumbai. The department deals with all pathological conditions of the central and peripheral nervous system and provides international standard treatment and care for neurological and neurosurgical cases. Resources, expertise, and capabilities from different specialists are brought under one roof to cater to the medical needs of a vast number of patients with multidisciplinary diseases.