Sunday, January 14, 2007

Epilepsy and its symptoms

Epileptic is the medical term used to denote people who have any one of a number of disorders characterized by seizures. But not everyone who has seizures has epilepsy, because other conditions can result in seizures. Head trauma, high fevers, high or low blood sugar, electrolyte abnormalities (like low blood salt), and drugs and alcohol all can cause people to have seizures. In those folks, the existence of a precipitating factor usually means that by treating the underlying cause, you do away with the seizures.

However, in many cases, epilepsy refers to seizure disorders not precipitated by an identifiable cause. The types of seizures vary from person to person, but the most common is the grand mal seizure, which causes the person to lose consciousness, fall to the floor and experience a stiffening of the body, followed by "jerking" movements of arms and legs.

It usually lasts from one to two minutes. After this, he will be difficult to arouse from what appears to be a deep sleep.

Witnessing such a seizure can be frightening, because during the seizure, the person may lose bladder or bowel control or injure himself by biting his tongue. Although this is alarming, understand that most seizures are self-limited. This is why it's crucial to protect the person during the seizure and get appropriate help afterward.

For those diagnosed with epilepsy, someone around you should know you have the medical condition. That way, in the event of a seizure, people can respond calmly. It's not nearly as frightening when people know about the disorder.

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Epilepsy is a common, treatable condition that manifests itself with symptoms that can be startling. However, knowing what to do when a seizure occurs lowers everyone's anxiety level and ensures a better outcome for the person who has epilepsy.


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