What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is recurrent seizures that occur due to a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain, disrupting communication between brain cells. Epilepsy is not to be confused with seizures that happen due to an allergic reaction or when a person has a high fever. Those kinds of seizures are rare and not recurrent.
On the other hand an epileptic can suffer from seizures at any time and, very often, the underlying cause or trigger is unclear. There are different types of seizures from a momentary black out or blank stare, to a complete physical convulsion.
There are different types of generalized seizures which include:-
• Absence seizures which are also called petit mal
• Convulsive seizures or grand mal seizures
• Atonic seizures
• Clonic seizures
• Tonic seizures
• Myoclonic seizures.
Whether the seizure is small or big, it can be dangerous. While driving or operating heavy machinery, even a black out for a couple of seconds can cause a nasty accident. People who suffer from generalized seizures like long seizures, or many seizures (like cluster seizures) are at risk for serious mishaps like broken bones, concussions, head injuries or breathing problems which can happen due to falls or hitting something hard during the convulsions. A long lasting convulsion can cause injuries, brain damage, and even death.
That is why it is very important for an epileptic to be regular with their visits to the doctor, their medication and lifestyle.
Anti epileptic medication
Medication is a critical part of an epileptic’s life. Unfortunately, epilepsy is not curable but is something that has to be managed throughout life. With the right medication, seizures can be prevented or at least managed for the most part. It is important for an epileptic to have set routines and proper medical management.
Sometimes missing a single dose of medication can lead to an epileptic episode that can cause harm or injury. One of the problems that epileptics face us that they never know if they’re getting better, so they have to see how they feel, one day at a time. Sometimes, people who are already on medication may get a sudden, unexpected seizure which may mean that they have to increase their dosage.
If someone has not had a seizure for a long time, the doctor may consider taking them off their medication. This has to be done slowly and under careful medical monitoring. If a patient suddenly stops medication, the seizures may start again with force, causing harm. Or it may lead to a bout of prolonged or status seizures.
While slowly weaning the epileptic off the medication over the space of a few months, the doctor will keep a close watch on episodes. If the seizures return, which unfortunately, they very often do, the doctor may increase the dosage slightly and try to find a lower dosage that keep the seizures at bay. Working with the doctor and consistency is the key to managing epilepsy.