Epilepsy is a condition which causes people to have recurrent seizures over a long period of months or years. A seizure occurs when there are abnormal movements in the body or there is a change in behaviour that is due to abnormal activity in the brain.

There are two main types of seizures namely generalized seizures which affect the whole brain and focal seizures which affects a part of the brain.

What are the symptoms of seizures?

The symptoms individuals experience from seizures depends on the type of seizures that they have.

The following are some of the common symptoms people can experience.

  • Jerky movement of the whole body, tongue biting and loss of urine control
  • Stiffness of the body
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Twitching of the arms and legs
  • Blinking of the eyes, lip-smacking and loss of awareness of the surroundings
  • Twitching sensation in the arm or leg
  • Abnormal taste, smell vision

What causes seizures or epilepsy?

For the majority of people who experience seizures, the cause of their seizures or epilepsy is never identified.

In other cases, there could be underlying factors such as those listed below.

  • Head injury
  • Abnormal brain development
  • Brain infections such as meningitis
  • Stroke
  • Infections such as HIV/AIDS, syphilis
  • Brain cancer

How is epilepsy diagnosed?

If you experience a seizure, you need to speak to a doctor who will assess you and request some tests to check for any underlying medical problems.

Where available your doctor will request for a scan of your brain and also a test called EEG to check the function of the nerves in your brain.

How is epilepsy treated?

The main treatment for people who suffer from epilepsy is anti-epilepsy drugs. These drugs are very useful in reducing the number of times people suffer from seizures and in some people, they can help to maintain a seizure-free life.

For more information about misconceptions about seizures and how to help when someone is experiencing a seizure click here.