The word Epilepsy comes from Greek and means to be "suddenly violently seized and overwhelmed." Those affected experience sudden seizures that can occur in varying degrees and degrees of severity, such as seizure patterns, causes, therapy, and first aid in epilepsy.
Epilepsy is one of the neurological diseases. Epilepsy is first mentioned when epileptic seizures occur repeatedly. The epileptic seizure is a single seizure of the brain, which occurs suddenly and usually stops after seconds or minutes.
Epilepsy is the most common chronic disease of the central nervous system. The risk of developing epilepsy is particularly high during the first years of life and from the age of 60 years. At least 5 percent of the population experiences at least one epileptic seizure by the age of 20, but epilepsy is present in only about a quarter of these children and adolescents.
The epileptic seizures are subdivided into several forms that are seriously different from each other. From dèja vu experiences and strange sensations of smell (for example, the scent of an orange grove or stink of a toilet block) to nails with hands to real cramps - all these signs can be the result of an epileptic seizure. And the seizure types change in part as the disease progresses.
Petit seizures are seizures with a short pause in consciousness, which usually does not lead to a fall or fall. Especially in childhood, these "small" seizures often express themselves only by the children briefly interrupting their current activity and stare absent-mindedly. Afterwards, they are often unaware of this. Seizures of this kind are therefore often referred to as daydreaming. In puberty, violent, sudden arm movements are typical of this type of seizure. Adults with petite seizures often perform automated - like machine-controlled - movements, which they do in a kind of twilight state.
In babies three months of age or more, there is a sudden flinching of the body (lightning), nodding of the head (Nick), and leading the arms (Salaam) forward. These seizures usually occur shortly before falling asleep or shortly after waking up and are difficult to treat.
This form is the most common form of childhood epilepsy. In schoolchildren before puberty, the seizures occur especially at night with facial twitching and speech difficulties. Often the children - seemingly awake - come to their parents' bedroom, but are unable to speak. Also typical is a drooping corner of the mouth with drooling saliva. The children later report being awakened by a strange feeling in their mouth.
Grand is the epileptic seizure that most people associate with epilepsy. In the event of a major attack, those affected suddenly become unconscious, falling to the ground, stiffening and twitching with arms and legs. Breathing may be irregular, the skin may turn blue. This big attack sometimes takes several minutes. After that, those affected often fall asleep, from which they awake dazed again. Urine usually goes away involuntarily, chair less often. As threatening as the grand mal seizure looks, it is usually not life threatening.
Febrile seizure in children is a casual attack that occurs in a feverish illness. This attack lasts 2 to 10 minutes and is the most common childhood cerebral seizure. Typical is a sudden loss of consciousness, followed by a muscular stiffening, which turns into twitches after 10 to 30 seconds. There are also cases where the muscles are limp and the children completely lose their body tension. The risk of later epilepsy is only slightly higher in children who have had a single febrile convulsion than their non-febrile counterparts.
Seizure This often causes twitching, which starts in one half of the face or in one hand and then gradually spreads over one half of the body. Rotational movements of the eyes, seeing flashes of light or alienated perception of the environment (eg lack of smell perception, taste sensations or the impression of having already experienced the situation - so-called Dèja vu experiences) are typical of the focal seizure. Those affected usually remain conscious. But for the most part they behave strangely for a few minutes: they fiddle, smack or laugh.
In the status epilepticus, a seizure lasts for more than 10 minutes, or a seizure follows the other in series, without the person being able to recover between seizures. Such status epilepticus is life-threatening and must be interrupted by the doctor medication. Please inform an emergency doctor immediately in such a case.
The cause of epilepsy is a change in the brain, which manifests itself in recurring epileptic seizures. Epilepsy can heal in childhood or persist throughout life. Some forms of epilepsy are particularly common in mentally disabled people, but most people with epilepsy are mentally fully developed. Often the cause of epilepsy is unknown. Epilepsy may be epileptic on epileptic seizures or may be caused or induced by congenital or acquired brain damage.
Sudden electrical discharges of many neurons in the brain simultaneously trigger epileptic seizures. This temporary disturbance can be triggered by several causes, such as:
Epileptic seizures are not always obvious at first glance, especially in young children and nocturnal, minor seizures. You should go to the doctor or call an ambulance, at:
The diagnosis of epilepsy is usually made by the doctor based on the symptoms that are asked in the case history interview. The only method for the direct detection of epilepsy is the EEG (electroencephalogram, recording of brain waves). In order to determine the extent of epilepsy more precisely, neuropsychological tests may be used in addition to further investigations. Most of all, they provide information about language, memory, attention, and general intelligence.
Continuous use of anti-epileptic drugs or anticonvulsants (drugs to suppress epileptic seizures) is only necessary in epilepsy, ie after repeated epileptic seizures. It can sometimes take months or years to find the appropriate drug and the right dosage, because each person reacts differently. Sometimes the therapy attempts are unsuccessful.
Commonly used anticonvulsants contain the following active ingredients: carbamazepine, ethosuximide, lacosamide, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, oxcarbazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, retigabine, topiramate, valproic acid (valproate) or zonisamide. Benzodiazepines are also used in epilepsy, for example clobazam, clonazepam, diazepam and lorazepam. After several seizure-free years, the doctor can usually reduce the dosage of the active ingredients.
Depending on the severity and frequency of epileptic seizures, surgical treatment for epilepsy may be the right choice. There are several possibilities:
If you are witnessing an epileptic seizure: