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Epilepsy-Don't Let It Shake Your Life Up

Aug 17, 2007
The moment someone is diagnosed with epilepsy, the doubts arise and there always are questions for which there are no answers. However, an attempt should be made to understand the disease so that one can manage it better. Unfortunately, there is ambiguity even in the diagnosing of the disease.

According to the doctors there exist about 40 types of seizures and not all are characterized by convulsions or jerking and shaking of the body. The most common seizure that most think about is defined as the convulsive, tonic clonic seizure, which is also known as the rand mal'. But this is not experienced by everyone. Epilepsy can exist even if you don't have convulsions.

Seizures normally happen in the brain and anything that is controlled by the brain could be affected like consciousness, behavior, movement etc. The neurologist will generally look at your medical history, circumstances that caused the seizure to happen or some other explanation for the seizure. One of the main diagnostic aids is to find out what happens during the seizure which will go a long way in telling them about the attack and deciding whether to diagnose epilepsy or not.

The word seizure would define a sudden change in behavior and or awareness. A person with diabetes will be prone to diabetic seizures, a person with a heart problem is at risk for a seizure related to that problem and then there are seizures which happen due to psychological reasons. These are also termed as non-epileptic seizures.

So one could define epileptic seizures as those that are caused by some strong disruption in the normal functioning of the brain. It does tend to get confusing as generally seizures are directly assumed to be epileptic in nature especially when they are defined on a web site and the fact that there are other types of seizures might get over looked.

There is no such thing as a one particular test that can diagnose this condition. It is in fact a very difficult condition to diagnose. EEGs are helpful in making this diagnosis but they show what is happening in your brain at the time of the test but it cannot show what happened before or after the attack or even the future. So the EEG will show everything as normal and unless the test is taken during the attack it is difficult to find out what is happening. Those people whose brain patterns show epilepsy related activity after the attack also can benefit from this test. The neurologist will ask a lot of questions to ascertain whether you have the condition or not, like checking on your medical history and getting a description of the seizure you had.

A brain scan is used to see if there are any physical causes for the brain to seize up like lesions, tumors, scar tissue but in most cases this scan comes up normal. This means that the scan cannot find anything wrong but it also does not mean that they don't have epilepsy.
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