What Is Epilepsy?

The medical world uses the term “epilepsy” for a collection of disorders that interrupt the electrical synapses in the brain. Similar to a computer the brain is an intricate electrical system powered by at least 80 pulses of power per second. These electrical pulses move between nerve cells to produce feelings, memories and thoughts. Interruption either faster or slower than 80 pulses of energy per second will produce seizures and malfunctions.

When the impulses in the brain are malfunctioning energy snaps come extremely fast which creates an electrical abnormality in the brain. The abnormal electrical surge may happen in just a very small area of your brain or it can cause malfunction to the entire brain. Depending on where the electrical malfunctions occur you can experience changes in sensations or consciousness or uncontrolled movements of certain parts of the body.

Epilepsy is a seizure disorder and the tendency is to have multiple seizures during a lifetime. Epileptic seizures vary in frequency as well as severity and they can occur any time of the day or night. There are those who have multiple seizures during the day and those who only experience seizures a few times in their life.

If you have a seizure you are not necessarily epileptic. You may experience an electrical malfunction in the brain due to a high fevers, traumatic head injuries or an allergic drug reaction. Those who have diabetes, heart conditions and narcolepsy may also experience epileptic episodes.

Epilepsy is not a fainting problem or the cause of holding your breath. It is not forgetfulness or lack of concentration or even momentary confusion and epilepsy is not catatonia which is characterized by bizarre movements. It is definitely not contagious; it may be inherited, but it is not catching. Do be aware that epilepsy is not a mental illness or a sign of reduced intelligence.

Those who have epilepsy do need to be cautious; epilepsy can be life-ending. If you have protracted seizures or do not recover consciousness in the middle of seizures this is a problem and must be medically taken care of immediately. If you are on medications for epilepsy, you do need to continually take your prescribed amounts. Not taking epileptic medications will cause a severe epilepticus event and possible death.

Some interesting facts about epilepsy include over two million people in the United States have had a seizure during their lifetime. Almost 75 percent of all epileptics had their first seizure in childhood and epilepsy was mentioned more than 3,000 years ago in Babylon. Of course then it was thought to be demonic possession. There may be over 500 different genes linked to epilepsy and the misfiring of electrical impulses in the brain.


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