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Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain characterized by spontaneous repeated seizures of any type occurring without an immediate cause.

Epilepsy can affect people of any age.

The seizures of epilepsy, called fits or convulsions are a result of abnormal electrical signals of the brain. A seizure may last from a few seconds to minutes. The type of seizure depends on the part of the brain affected and the cause of the seizure.

Causes of Seizures- In most cases the cause of the seizure cannot be identified; these seizures may begin between age 5 and 20.

Seizures may also be as a result of an inherited abnormality.  Other causes are:

·         Head injury

·         Birth trauma

·         Strokes

·         Family history of seizures

·         Infections

·         Injury during development in the womb

Some seizures are related to: Exposure to drugs, withdrawal from drugs, abnormal levels of sodium in the blood or to abnormal levels of glucose in the blood. If these seizures cease after correcting the problems, a diagnosis of epilepsy cannot be made.

 Types of Seizures

The two main types of seizures are generalized and partial.

1-Generalized Seizures-Generalized seizures affect all or most of the brain, they can be tonic-clonic or absence.

Tonic-Clonic Seizures- In this type of seizure there is violent muscle contractions of the whole body.  It is the most frightening of seizures.

·         The body will go rigid and stiff.

·         Breathing may stop temporarily.

·         The person may utter a cry and fall to the ground.

·         The person may bite his tongue causing bleeding

·         There is confusion following the seizure.

·         There may be incontinence of urine and loss of consciousness.

Absence Seizures- In generalized absence seizures there may be minimal or no movements at all, except for eye blinking. There could be sudden loss of awareness or loss of full consciousness .This type of seizure occurs most often in childhood.

2-Partial Seizures-

Partial seizures affect only a portion of the brain; they can be a simple partial seizure or complex partial ones.

The person with partial seizures may have abnormal feelings or sensations.  Other signs of partial seizures are:

·         A strange smell or odor

·         Hallucinations

·         Muscle contractions of a part of the body

·         Nausea

·         Sweating

·         Feelings of déjà vu

In partial complex seizures there may also be a change in personality and meaningless behavior. There may be confusion and loss of memory.

Persons who have lived with epilepsy for many years may find that their seizures change as they age.

Individuals living with epilepsy would contact their health professional if their symptoms change or become worse.

They would need to contact their health professional for any change in medication.