The neurological condition of epilepsy is characterized by aberrant brain activity that results in seizures or episodes of strange behavior, feelings, and even loss of consciousness. Epilepsy may strike any person. Men and women of different ages, races, and cultural origins can develop epilepsy.

Seizure symptoms might vary considerably. During a seizure, some epileptics just gaze blankly for a brief period, while others continuously jerk their limbs or legs. One seizure may not always indicate epilepsy. A diagnosis of epilepsy typically requires at least two unprovoked seizures that occur at least 24 hours apart from one another.

For most epilepsy patients, treatment with drugs or occasionally surgery may control seizures. While some patients need ongoing medication to manage their seizures, others finally experience a cessation of their seizures. Over time, some epileptic youngsters may outgrow their affliction.

Epilepsy: Causes

The following are the important causes of developing epilepsy −

  • Genetic determinism. Certain forms of epilepsy run in families and are classified by the sort of seizure you have or the area of the brain that is affected. There most likely is a genetic component in these circumstances.

  • Researchers have connected various forms of epilepsy to particular genes, but for the majority of people, genes account for just a portion of the disease's causes. A person's susceptibility to seizure-inducing environmental factors may be increased by specific genes.

  • Brain injury. Epilepsy may arise after head trauma from a vehicle accident or another traumatic event.

  • Improper brain function. Epilepsy can be brought on by abnormalities in the brain, such as brain tumors or vascular anomalies including arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and cavernous malformations.

  • The major cause of epilepsy in persons over the age of 35 is stroke.

  • Infections. Epilepsy can be brought on by meningitis, HIV, viral encephalitis, and various parasite illnesses.

  • Birth damage. Babies are vulnerable to brain injury before birth, which can be brought on by several things, including a mother's illness, inadequate nourishment, or oxygen deprivation. Epilepsy or cerebral palsy may be the outcome of this brain injury.

  • Disorders of development. Developmental diseases like autism and epilepsy can occasionally coexist.

Epilepsy: Symptoms

Seizures can disrupt any brain-coordinated process as epilepsy is brought on by aberrant brain activity. Some seizure warning signs and symptoms include −

  • Temporary perplexity

  • A bout of gazing

  • Rigid muscles

  • Jerky, uncontrollable arm and leg motions

  • Loss of awareness or consciousness

  • Psychological signs like worry, terror, or déjà vu

The type of seizure determines the specific symptoms. The symptoms will be consistent from episode to episode since, in the majority of situations, a person with epilepsy tends to experience the same sort of seizure every time.

According to how and where the aberrant brain activity starts, doctors typically categorize seizures as either focal or generalized.

Epilepsy: Risk Factors

Several factors play an important role in the development of epilepsy which includes −

  • Age. While epilepsy may develop at any age, it most frequently does so in children and older individuals.

  • Family background. You may be more likely to develop a seizure problem if you have a family history of epilepsy.

  • Head trauma. Several instances of epilepsy are caused by head trauma. Using a seatbelt in a car and a helmet while biking, skiing, riding a motorbike, or taking part in other sports that have a high risk of head injuries will lower your risk.

  • Stroke and many vascular conditions. Damage to the brain from a stroke or other vascular (blood vessel) condition may result in epilepsy.

  • Dementia. In elderly persons, dementia can raise the risk of epilepsy.

  • Diseases of the brain. Your risk can be raised by illnesses like meningitis, which can result in inflammation of the brain or spinal cord.

  • Seizures in young children. Seizures with high fevers in children can occasionally coexist. Most kids who experience seizures because of high fevers won't go on to have epilepsy. If a kid has experienced a prolonged fever-related seizure, has another nervous system disorder, or has a family history of epilepsy, their chance of developing epilepsy rises.

Many actions may be taken to lower your chance of developing these illnesses, such as reducing your alcohol intake, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy diet, and engaging in regular exercise.

Epilepsy: Diagnosis

The diagnosis of epilepsy is mainly done based on history and some of the tests may be required for confirmation and to rule out underlying causes −

  • Intensive EEG

  • CT scan for computerized tomography. A CT scan produces cross-sectional pictures of your brain using X-rays.

  • Imaging with magnetic resonance (MRI)

  • A functional MRI captures the alterations in blood flow that take place while particular brain regions are active.

  • CT with positron emission (PET)

  • Computer tomography using a single photon (SPECT). Subtraction ictal SPECT coregistered to MRI (SISCOM), a type of SPECT test that doctors may do, may produce even more thorough data by superimposing the SPECT results with the patient's brain MRI.

  • Testing for the nervous system. Doctors evaluate your speech, memory, and reasoning abilities throughout these examinations.

Epilepsy: Treatment

The treatment is based on the severity of the symptoms. Your doctor may advise conservative or surgical treatment.

The majority of epileptics may go seizure-free by using one anti-seizure medicine, commonly known as an anti-epileptic drug. A combination of drugs may help some people reduce the frequency and severity of their seizures.

Many kids with epilepsy who aren't exhibiting any symptoms may ultimately be able to stop taking their medications and lead seizure-free lives. After two or more years without seizures, many individuals can stop taking their drugs. When to discontinue taking your prescriptions will be determined by your doctor.

It might be difficult to determine the proper drug and dose. While deciding which drug to give, your doctor will take into account your condition, the frequency of your seizures, your age, and other variables. To verify that the anti-epileptic drugs won't interfere with any other prescriptions you might be taking, your doctor will also review them.

Epilepsy: Prevention

Some of the measures that can help to prevent epilepsy include −

  • Reduce the risk of brain trauma

  • Reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke

  • Get a vaccine

  • Hands-off cooking and safe food preparation

  • Maintain your health when pregnant.


As patients' clinical state may suddenly change, effective communication between interprofessional team members is crucial. To obtain the best results, this interprofessional team, which consists of primary care physicians (including PAs and NPs), specialists (such as neurologists), nurses, mental health experts, and pharmacists, must work as a cohesive unit.

Seizures can have a variety of reasons, but no matter what, the initial fundamental therapy is the same. All seizure patients need supportive care, airway, respiratory, and circulatory assessments, along with the relevant therapies.

For individuals who have had a long seizure or are still having seizures, further measures, such as medication and critical care interventions, may be required. To maximize team response, communication and collaboration with other healthcare professionals are crucial.

Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha
Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha


Updated on: 18-Apr-2023


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