Living with Epilepsy

Posted on Jul 18, 2022

A neurological condition where brain activity is disturbed is called epilepsy. In this condition, the brain cells' electrical signals behave abnormally with sudden bursts of electrical activity. This causes seizures or abnormal behaviour, symptoms, and sensations, sometimes including loss of consciousness in a person. Epilepsy may occur due to a genetic disorder or an acquired brain injury, such as a trauma or stroke.

What happens during an epileptic seizure?
Some people can experience prodrome or warning signs before a seizure actually happens. These warning signs may be sensory or emotional changes such as experiencing an aura, Déjà vu, blurry vision, enhanced sense of smell, and racing thoughts. 
During the actual seizure, the person usually loses consciousness and has a period of blackout, mostly including falling as well. Other physical signs such as jerky movements, loss of bladder control, loss of control of senses, stiffening of the body, convulsions, and loss of muscle tone. Typically a seizure lasts for about 30 seconds to 2 mins. More than 5 mins call for a medical emergency. 
After the seizure, people may have injuries, such as bruising, cuts, broken bones, or head injury if fell during a seizure, May feel tired, exhausted, or sleep for minutes or hours, have a headache or other pain, Nausea or upset stomach or dehydration, and an urge to go to the bathroom or lose control of bowel or bladder.

Managing Epilepsy 
The main line of treatment for epilepsy is oral medications in the form of anticonvulsant drugs which may be needed for a lifetime. Medication depends on seizure type, epilepsy syndrome, other medications used, other health problems, and the person's age and lifestyle. Another treatment option is epilepsy surgery which is recommended when patients do not respond to medications.

Living with Epilepsy
Most people with epilepsy can live normal lives. However, patients who have had epilepsy for a long time or whose epilepsy is difficult to control are at higher risk experience changes in their quality of life such as less mobility, as well as the impact on learning, school attendance, employment, relationships, and social interactions They may also need assistance in their daily life activities. Research has shown that regular sessions of aerobic exercise such as running, walking, swimming, or cycling can result in a significant reduction in the number of seizures for some people, as well as other health benefits.