OverviewEpilepsy - is one of the most common diseases of the nervous system, characterized by recurrent seizures with respect to stereotyping. The incidence of epilepsy is an average of 5-10%. Epileptic seizures are caused by abnormal discharges in the brain and manifest violation of a temporary motor, sensory, autonomic and cognitive functions.
The common opinion of people that epilepsy is an incurable disease, is erroneous. The use of modern anti-epileptic drugs can completely get rid of the attacks 65% of patients and significantly reduce the number of seizures in 20% more. The basis of treatment is long-term daily medication to control research and regular medical examinations.
Causes of epilepsyDue to the occurrence of epilepsy are classified as "symptomatic" (where you can find a structural defect of the brain, such as cyst, tumor, hemorrhage, congenital malformations), idiopathic (when there is a genetic predisposition and structural changes in the brain are absent), and cryptogenic (when the cause of the disease identified can not).
Symptoms of EpilepsyThe manifestations of seizures vary from generalized seizures to subtle changes in the people around the internal state of the patient.
There are focal seizures associated with the occurrence of electric discharge in a limited area of the cortex of the brain and generalized seizures, in which both are involved in the category of both hemispheres of the brain. With focal seizures, or convulsions can occur peculiar sensations (eg, numbness) in certain parts of the body (face, hands, feet, etc.). Also, focal seizures may occur in short bouts of visual, auditory, olfactory or gustatory hallucinations. Consciousness in these attacks can be stored in such a case, the patient describes in detail his feelings. The duration of partial seizures is usually not more than 30 seconds.
Generalized seizures are divided into convulsive and nonconvulsive (absences).
For others the most frightening are the generalized convulsive seizures. At the beginning of the attack (tonic phase) occurs all muscles, short-term cessation of breathing, often a piercing scream, perhaps biting tongue. After 10-20 seconds. clonic phase occurs when the muscle contractions alternate with their relaxation. At the end of the clonic phase is often observed incontinence. Seizures usually disappear spontaneously after a few minutes (2-5 minutes). Then comes postpristupny period characterized by drowsiness, confusion, headache and sleep onset.
Nonconvulsive generalized seizures are known absences. They occur almost exclusively in childhood and early adolescence. Child suddenly stops and stares at one point, glance away. There may be shielding his eyes, trembling eyelids, a slight tilting of the head. The attacks continued for a few seconds (5-20 seconds) and often go unnoticed.
DiagnosisIn total there are 40 different forms of epilepsy and various types of seizures. In addition, for each form developed their own treatment regimen. That is why it is so important for the physician not only to diagnose epilepsy, but also to determine its shape.
The main methods of diagnosis are electroencephalography and computed or magnetic resonance imaging. Normal (routine) method of EEG recording involves no more than 15 minutes of recording time, and is used for bulk studies. According to most researchers for the diagnosis of epilepsy is the most informative of EEG monitoring, which is a recording of the electroencephalogram in a long time (from 1 to 12 h, with the inclusion of a period of sleep and wakefulness).
What you can do?If you notice in yourself or your loved ones the symptoms of epilepsy, as soon as possible try to appeal to a neurologist. If the attack happened the first time, accompanied by respiratory failure, or lasts more than 5 minutes, call "ambulance". Remove all hard objects in the immediate vicinity of the patient, put your head under the soft, flat object, place the person in the lateral polozhenie.Uderzhivat patients during an epileptic seizure should not be. Fix the start time epileptic seizure to determine its duration.
What will help the doctor?Antiepileptic drugs are chosen depending on the shape and nature of epilepsy seizures. The drug is usually administered in a small initial dose with gradual increases until its optimal clinical effect. The ineffectiveness of the drug will eventually be canceled and assigned to the next. Remember that under no circumstances should change the dosage of self-medication or stop treatment. The sudden change in dose can cause deterioration and increased frequency of seizures.
Epilepsy and PregnancyPatients who receive anti-epileptic therapy and planning a pregnancy, you should inform your doctor. Maybe for a successful pregnancy will require a change of therapy or changing doses of medications. If possible, try to refer to the obstetrician-gynecologist who has experience of pregnancy and childbirth in women with this diagnosis.
Before the onset of pregnancy should also apply to the medical-genetic consultation.