When people don’t have the basic facts that’s when myths tend to fill in the blanks. So here is epilepsy in a nutshell:
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a chronic neurologic disorder with many possible causes. Anything that disturbs the normal pattern of neuron activity – from illness to brain damage to abnormal brain development – that can lead to seizures.
What is a seizure?
Seizures can cause strange sensations, emotions, and behavior. Seizures can also cause convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness.
Is there more than one type of seizure?
Yes, there is! There are more than 40 known types of seizures.
Does everyone who has a seizure have epilepsy?
Having a seizure does not necessarily mean that a person has epilepsy. Only when a person has two or more seizures is he or she considered for a diagnosis of epilepsy.
How do you know if you’ve had a seizure?
In my case, you know because suddenly you are on the floor when previously you were not. Oh, and you can’t explain how you got there. But that is not always the case. Epilepsy.com has recently added a robust list of definitions and descriptions of all the different types of seizures and types of epilepsy. I suggest that you check it out.
How is epilepsy diagnosed?
EEG, CAT Scan, and MRI are common diagnostic tests for epilepsy. Epilepsy is usually diagnosed by a neurologist after a person has two or more seizures. For tips on how to find a great neurologist check out this earlier post.
Is a cause always identified?
Not always. The seizures in epilepsy may be related to a brain injury or a family tendency, but often the cause is unknown. The word “epilepsy” does not indicate anything about the cause of the person’s seizures, what type they are, or how severe they are.
How can I help someone having a seizure?
The 4 C’s of seizure first aid are: Calm, Clear, Comfort, Call. I love the simplicity of this message which applies to both convulsive and non-convulsive seizures. For more information on first aid, check out this post.