Understanding Epilepsy Causes
is a brain disorder in which nerve cells fail to communicate properly, resulting in seizures. Seizures are uncontrollable electrical surges that change sensations, behaviours, awareness, and muscular action. Although epilepsy is often successfully treated, there are numerous therapeutic alternatives. Up to 70% of persons with epilepsy can control their condition with medication.
What are the Types of Seizures?
Seizures can be classified into two parts:
1. Focal Seizures
These seizures are caused by abnormal activity in a single brain area. When you have them, you can lose consciousness or remain alert.
There is no loss of consciousness. Seizures can impact your emotions and senses of sight, smell, taste, and sound.
You could also involuntarily jerk an arm or a leg, experience tingling, disorientation, or see flashing lights. With a loss of awareness. You aren’t as conscious of your surroundings as usual during these seizures. You could look into space or move in circles or chew, chewing, rubbing your hands.
2. Generalized Seizures
Such a type of seizure usually affects every portion of your brain. Generalized seizures are classified into six types:
- Absence seizures: It mainly affects children and involves tiny movements such as lip-smacking or blinking of the eyes.
- Tonic seizures: It causes you to stiffen the muscles in your arms, legs, and back, and as a result, you may fall.
- Atonic seizures: It deprives you of muscle control. They’re also known as drop seizures since they lead you to fall.
- Clonic seizures: You may find yourself repeating jerking movements in your neck, face, and arms due to them.
- Myoclonic seizures: Short, twitching, and jerking motions in your arms and legs are involved.
- Tonic-clonic seizures: These are also called grand-mal seizures, cause you to lose consciousness, stiffen your entire body, and shiver. You may also lose control of your bladder or bite your tongue.
Each year, around 180,000 new instances of epilepsy are diagnosed. Children account for about 30% of all cases.
The most vulnerable people are children and the elderly.
Only a tiny percentage of epilepsy cases have an identifiable cause. The most common known causes of seizures include brain damage. The following are some of the most common causes of epilepsy:
1. GLUT-1 Deficiency Syndrome
Epilepsy induced by a metabolic issue is known as GLUT-1 deficient syndrome. The GLUT-1 deficient condition is characterized by difficulties with glucose transport to the brain. Speech is one of the areas that could be damaged the most. A lumbar puncture will be used to diagnose the problem.
A ketogenic diet, which is high in fat and protein and low in sugar and carbs, can be used to treat GLUT-1 deficiency. Children who start the diet at a young age and stick to it can notice significant improvements.
If the seizures continue, the neurologist doctor prescribes medication.
2. Cortical Dysplasia
Cells called neurons move from the innermost sections of the brain to build the brain’s outer layer, or cortex, as a fetus develops in the womb. Cortical dysplasia cells can develop if this procedure is carried out unevenly. The displaced neurons send out incorrect signals to one another, resulting in recurrent seizures.
Anti-seizure drugs are usually used to treat seizures caused by cortical dysplasia. If these medications don’t manage the seizures well enough, the doctor may recommend them.
3. Family History
Genes play a significant role. As many as 40% of all epilepsy cases are caused by a person’s inherited traits, making them more likely to develop them. A combination of genes causes epilepsy, and some experts estimate there could be as many as 500.
If you have an epileptic parent or sibling, you are more likely to develop it than someone who does not. Doctors aren’t sure how it’s passed on, but they believe it has to do with a DNA abnormality that damages brain nerve cells. It’s also possible to carry this gene without developing epilepsy.
Experts believe genetics and another factor, such as a medical condition, are to blame.
4. Lack of Sleep
Sleep is very important for everyone, but it’s especially important if you have epilepsy.
The electrical and hormonal activity in your brain changes while you’re sleeping. These alterations can act as triggers, which reasons why some people suffer seizures while sleeping. People who haven’t acquired enough sleep may experience seizures due to the alterations.
Epilepsy and sleep, unfortunately, are in a vicious cycle.
Sleep deprivation can cause seizures, which can be made worse by epilepsy. Some epilepsy drugs include adverse effects such as insomnia, making it difficult to fall or remain asleep. People with epilepsy are also more likely to develop sleep disorders, a disorder that disturbs sleep even more.
5. Metabolic Disorders
Epilepsy can be triggered by a metabolic disorder (a problem with how your body receives the energy for routine tasks). Many of these problems can be identified by genetic tests, which your healthcare professional can perform.
6. Trauma to the Head or Brain
Either can trigger seizures, and they disappear from time to time. You don’t have epilepsy if they do. If they persist, you could have post-traumatic epilepsy or PTE. It can also occur during childbirth. It’s possible that you won’t get epilepsy until years after your brain injury.
7. Developmental Disorders
Epilepsy is frequently caused by birth abnormalities affecting the brain, especially in persons whose episodes aren’t managed by anti-seizure drugs. Focal cortical dysplasia, polymicrogyria, and tuberous sclerosis are some of the congenital disabilities that have been linked to epilepsy.
Other types of brain abnormalities have been linked to epilepsy.
Epilepsy can be a lifelong condition in some situations. Seizures in some people are possible to regulate with the right treatment. You can help in the better management of your seizures. Get enough sleep, limit alcohol use, eat a nutritious diet, avoid seizure triggers, and take your medications exactly as prescribed by your neuro physician.
1. Can you suddenly develop epilepsy?
In adults, structural abnormalities in the brain (such as a stroke, tumor, or brain injury) and brain infection are the most common causes of new-onset seizures. We don’t know the exact cause of epilepsy in roughly 60% of persons.
2. When does epilepsy usually start?
Seizures are short bursts of electrical activity in the brain that disrupt its normal functioning. They can show themselves in a variety of ways. Epilepsy can strike at any age, and however, it most commonly strikes children or persons over 60. It’s usually permanent; however, it can improve gradually over time.
3. What gender is most affected by epilepsy?
Females have a lower incidence, with 41 instances per 100,000 person-years, than males, who had 49 cases per 100,000 person-years. The Rochester epilepsy study also discovered that males had a somewhat greater prevalence of epilepsy than females (6.5 vs. 6.0 per 1000 persons).
If epilepsy is not treated, seizures may occur throughout a person’s life, and seizures can become more severe and happen more often over time. Epilepsy can be caused by tumors or improperly formed blood vessels.