What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a condition of the nervous system. People affected suffer seizures that are triggered by different events in their surroundings. More than 2.5 million people in America alone are affected by epilepsy with 180,000 new cases every year.

Is Epilepsy threatening? What happens if the person has an Epileptic Seizure?

Epilepsy isn’t usually fatal to the victim but when someone is having an epileptic seizure, it is frightening to watch. The person might lose consciousness or have no idea what's going on. Sometimes, the person might even make movements that the person has no control over, such as flailing the arms. Although having seizures often indicates epilepsy, it might not be epilepsy because seizures can be triggered in anyone under certain conditions, like serious dehydration or high fever. However, if a person experiences multiple seizures for no reason, it is generally diagnosed with epilepsy. The only time when epilepsy is dangerous is when a fit occurs in the middle of an activity like driving, causing a fatal accident.

Video of an epileptic fit:



What causes Epilepsy?

Usually, doctors can't specifically tell someone what causes epilepsy, but scientists do know that some of the things below may contribute to a person developing this condition:
  • lack of oxygen during an infant's childbirth
  • Brain Injury from car crash or accident
  • Poisoning
  • Brain Tumors or Stroke

One well-known example of a seizure-causing video:

Back in 1997, during an episode of Pokemon, there was a scene (above) where there were red and blue flashes followed by yellow flashing lights from Pikachu.
Many epileptic viewers suffered seizures as a result of watching and had to be taken to the hospital.

Is Epilepsy contagious? Can it be inherited?

Epilepsy is not contagious and can not be passed down through families in the same way that AIDS can. However, a person who has a close relative with epilepsy does have a slightly higher risk of having epilepsy than somebody with no family history of seizures.

How do doctors treat Epilepsy?

Doctors will most likely do some tests first, like the Electroencephalogram or the EGG test. These tests are to measure the electrical activity in the person’s brain. Scans of the brain might also be done. Fortunately, all of these tests above are painless. If doctors determine that you do have epilepsy, then they will prescribe anti-seizure medicine or implant a device called a vagus nerve stimulator. This device sends signals through the nerves in the neck to control seizures.

Conclusion

Although Epileptic fits might sound frightening, managing this order can be simple. If you have epilepsy, follow your treatment plan, get plenty of sleep and eat healthily and you will manage it just fine. Finally patients with epilepsy should exercise to reduce stress and stay in shape!



Bibilography

Book:
Deadly Diseases by Nick Arnold

Website:
http://kidshealth.org/teen/diseases_conditions/brain_nervous.epilepsy.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epilepsy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nV40H_g-NJo

Done by:
Effi Wong 9.5