Epilepsy is a tendency to have recurrent seizures, which results from disturbances in the normal electrical activity of the brain.
The human brain is a unique computer, which works for all 24 hours. It is built up of billions of nerve cells called neuron. The neuron has electrical activity and this is transmitted through the axons and dendrites. These electrical impulses are transmitted from one neuron to another through the chemical messengers called neurotransmitters, which are present in the synapse If a group of nerve cells start sending these impulses excessively, it results into epileptic attacks.
Epilepsy is a symptom of many diseases. Just as headache, it is a symptom, which has a number of causes. Epilepsy can be caused by a number of illness in the brain.
*No demonstrable cause
• Prenatal injuries
• Low sugar, sodium or calcium
• Developmental defect of the brain
• Cerebral infections like meningitis, encephalitis
• Cerebral injuries
• Cerebral tumors
• Cerebro vascular attack
• Cysticercus and tuberculomas
Signs & Symptoms
* Rigid body
* Jerking movements of arms and legs
* Clenching of teeth
* Grunting noises
* Confusion (one or two minutes)
Classification of epilepsy
1. Simple partial seizure
2. Complex partial seizure
1. Typical Absence seizure
2. Atypical absence seizure
4. Tonic – Clonic seizure
5. Atonic seizure
In partial seizures the abnormal electrical discharges occur in a localized area in the brain. Hence the symptoms depend upon the area of brain involved, motor or sensory.
Simple partial seizures
Simple partial seizures do not affect consciousness. Symptoms may include rhythmic movements of the contralateral face, arm or leg and possibly hallucinations involving smell, sight or hearing or feelings of fear and panic or euphoria.
Complex partial seizures
Complex partial seizures are the most common type of seizure in adults, commonly lasting less than three minutes and associated with impairment in the consciousness they become complex partial seizures.
Generalized seizures affect the whole cortex with the patient’s level of consciousness usually being impaired; there is often no aura or warning. Generalized seizures have varying characteristics.
* Typical absence seizures are distinguished by a transient loss of consciousness and awareness of the environment with a vacant appearance, which lasts just a few seconds
* Atypical absence seizures resemble typical absence seizures but last longer and are often associated with minor automatism
* Myoclonic seizures are classified by sudden muscle contractions of specific muscle groups with no loss of consciousness
* Tonic-clonic seizures involve bilateral extension of limbs followed by synchronous jerking movements. There is often a cry before the seizure, a fall to the ground followed by incontinence, tongue biting, foaming at the mouth and loss of consciousness. There is a post-ictal phase and when patients wake they have muscle tenderness, transient confusion and exhaustion
* Atonic seizures cause loss of muscle tone and a fall to the ground, often resulting in injury; it may be so brief that the patient is unaware of the loss of consciousness
Signs & Symptoms
* Headache, fainting attack
* Muscle spasms
* Black out or fall jerky movement
* Incontinence of bladder or bowel
* Tongue bite, breathing difficulty
• Valporic acid
* Reserve and palliative operations (temporal lobotomy, extra temporal resection, corpus colostomy, hemisperectomy)
* Maintain a patient airway until patient is fully awake after a seizure
* Provide oxygen during the seizure if color change occurs
* Stress the importance of taking medication regularly
* Provide a safe environment by padding side rails and removing clutter
* Place a bed in a low position and place a patient on side during a seizure to prevent aspiration
* Do not restrain the patient during a seizure
* Do not put anything in the patient mouth during a seizure
* Protect the patient’s head during a seizure.
* Stay with a patient who is ambulating or who is in a confused state during seizure
* Provide a helmet to the patient who falls during seizure
* Consult with social worker for community resources for vocational rehabilitation, counsellors and support groups
* Teach stress reduction techniques that will fit into a patient lifestyle
* Answer questions related to use of computerized video EEG monitoring and surgery for epilepsy management
* Status epileptics
* Injuries due to falls