There are four ingredients in true leadership: brains, soul, heart and good nerves. – Klaus Schwab

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a disorder of the central nervous system, marked by unprovoked, recurrent seizures. An epileptic seizure is an event of an altered brain function caused by excessive, electrical discharges from brain cells. During an epileptic seizure, brain activity becomes abnormal, causing periods of unusual behaviour, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness.

Possible Causes: 

Epilepsy is a disorder afflicting the central nervous system so that brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures. Only when a person has experienced more than one seizure, is epilepsy diagnosed. While in most people, the cause cannot be identified, in some cases the following have been found to be epilepsy causes:

  • Low oxygen or head injuries during birth.
  • Stroke or injury to the brain.
  • Brain tumours or genetic conditions.
  • Infectious diseases like meningitis, AIDS and viral encephalitis.
  • Increase in sodium or blood sugar.

Risk Factors: 

The presence of the following factors increases an individual’s risk of getting epilepsy:

  • Age: it’s most common in children and older adults.
  • Family history: like with most neurological disorders, the chances of developing epilepsy are higher if you have a family history of epilepsy.
  • Head injuries: these can lead to epilepsy. 
  • Stroke and other vascular diseases: these lead to brain damage which in turn can result in epilepsy.
  • Dementia: dementia can increase the risk of epilepsy in older adults.
  • Infections of the brain: The risk of getting epilepsy is higher among those who have suffered infections such as meningitis or encephalitis, which cause inflammation in the brain or spinal cord.

Signs & Symptoms: 

Usually, a person with epilepsy tends to have the same type of seizure each time, so the symptoms are similar from episode to episode. There could be temporary confusion, staring blankly, involuntary movements of the limbs, becoming unconscious, anxiety or fear. Focal or partial seizures may be without loss of consciousness or with impaired awareness are epilepsy symptoms.

  • Focal seizures without loss of consciousness affect emotions or may result in involuntary shaking of a limb with feeling of tingling, dizziness and blinking lights.
  • Focal seizures with impaired awareness are characterised with staring into space and repetitive movements like hand rubbing, chewing, swallowing or walking in circles.

Diagnosis: 

At Medcare, it is our endeavour to provide the best neurodiagnostic care and treatment of epilepsy, therefore accuracy of the diagnosis and locating the exact place where the seizures begin, play an important role in providing the most effective treatment.

To begin with, our specialists take you through a neurological test to narrow down the type of epilepsy you may have. This is usually followed by a blood test to check for signs of infections or genetic conditions linked to the seizures.

  • Other test to assess brain patterns are (i) electroencephalogram (EEG), that uses a sensor to record electrical activity in the brain and (ii) computerised tomography (CT) scan that uses X-ray images of your brain to isolate the cause of seizures.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) helps our specialist to see if any brain tissues are damaged, leading to seizures. Other tests such as a functional MRI or a magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) may be recommended for a deeper study. 
  • Positron emission tomography (PET scan) assists in seeing changes in your brain chemistry. 
  • Single-photon emission computerised tomography (SPECT) is a two-part test to find out where seizures start in your brain. 

Our neurologists use analysis techniques like statistical parametric mapping (SPM), curry analysis or magnetoencephalography (MEG) to achieve the best possible diagnosis.

Treatment Options: 

Schedule a consultation with a neurologist at Medcare to get the best epilepsy treatment options:

  • Treatment for epilepsy encompasses medication, a specific diet, implants to settle your nerves and finally surgery. 
  • Epilepsy medications called anti-convulsant, depending on the type and frequency of seizures, are prescribed. Doctors often recommend blood tests, to see the effect of the medicines.
  • A diet high in fats and low in carbohydrates may be suggested by our specialist.
  • An implant called a vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) may be placed under the skin of your chest to send small bursts of electricity to your brain. A neurostimulator is placed under your scalp to note patterns in your brain activity that may lead to a seizure. 
  • There are two types of surgeries:
  • In respective surgery a part of your brain that causes the seizures, is removed. This surgery is most often done when the part of the brain causing the seizures doesn’t control speech, movement, sight, or hearing. 
  • In disconnective surgery, paths are cut between the nerves in your brain that are involved in your seizures.
FAQs: الأسئلة الشائعة:
  • What is an epileptic seizure?

    A: A seizure happens because of unusual electrical activity in the brain. However, all seizures are not related to epilepsy. People who have had two or more seizures without any provocation within the last 24 hours have epilepsy.

  • How does an EEG help to confirm epilepsy?

    A: The electroencephalogram (EEG) test directly detects electrical activity in the brain. Epileptic seizures are defined by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. During an EEG, electrodes (small metal disks) are attached by glue to specific locations on the patient’s head. These are also attached to a monitor to record the brain's electrical activity. 

    A routine EEG procedure takes about 90 minutes and records about 20 minutes of brain wave. A repeat EEG recording of 180 minutes or more might be necessary. The EEG is useful to confirm a diagnosis of epilepsy and to determine the type of epilepsy.

    Prolonged EEG-video monitoring is an even better diagnostic method. In this, an EEG monitors the brain's activity and cameras videotape body movements and behaviour during a seizure. For this, the patient may have to spend several days in a special hospital facility.

  • My son’s seizures have been diagnosed as epilepsy. What can I do to help him to go through school and other normal activities?

    A: Children with epilepsy can participate fully in school, and later go to college and have a career, but there are some challenges along the way. As a parent, you may sometimes feel overwhelmed and helpless, so it’s important for you to learn all you can about this condition, and also meet with a support group if possible. 

    Try to understand how your son’s medications may affect him, whether they cause any tiredness or other side effects. Inform his teacher and school doctor or nurse so that they know what to do if he has a seizure in school.

  • What is an ‘aura’ before a seizure?

    A: Some epilepsy patients report feeling different just before a seizure, and this is called an ‘aura’. Auras are associated more with focal seizures, in which only a part of the brain is affected. 

    While some people find this aura hard to describe, others describe physical, emotional or sensory changes. An individual often experiences the same aura each time. The aura may be followed by a seizure, or not, because the aura is actually a part of the focal seizure. The aura may involve smelling, seeing or tasting different things.

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