What is a Seizure?
The neurons in the brain communicate with each other with electrical impulses. During a seizure the electrical impulses are disrupted, causing a seizure.
There are about 40 types of seizures which come under two main categories- partial seizures, where only a small part of the brain is affected, and generalised seizures, where most or all of the brain is affected.
People with epilepsy can experience any of the varieties of seizures, although most people follow a consistent pattern of symptoms. There are three main types of epilepsy- symptomatic epilepsy, cryptogenic epilepsy and idiopathic epilepsy.
How common is a Seizure?
Epilepsy affects around 456,000 people in the UK, around 1 in 130 people. Epilepsy usually begins during childhood, although it can start at any age.
What are the symptoms of a Seizure?
Symptoms differ depending on the type of seizure. A simple partial seizure will causes changes in your senses, a tingling sensation, a sudden intense emotion, and stiff muscles or twitching. A complex partial seizure causes strange bodily behaviours, like smacking your lips, making random noises, fiddling with objects and chewing or swallowing.
Generalised seizures will generally render the sufferer completely unconscious. There are six main types of generalised seizures. The most common type of seizure, what most people think of as an epileptic fit, is a tonic-clonic seizure, in which your body becomes stiff and then your limbs will begin twitching.
The warning signs of an epileptic fit are called auras. Common auras include noticing a strange taste or smell, having a feeling of déjà vu, feeling in a dreamlike state, experiencing anxiety, and your body feeling strange.
How is a Seizure treated?
At the moment, there is no cure for epilepsy. About 70% of people with epilepsy have their seizures controlled with anti-epileptic drugs.
If drug treatment fails to control seizures, surgery may be an option. If surgery is not an option, an alternative may be to implant a small device under the skin of the chest which sends electrical messages to the brain.
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