Epilepsy: Symptoms and Treatment

Such a disease as epilepsy is chronic, and it is characterized by the appearance of spontaneous, rarely occurring, short-term seizures of epileptic seizures. It should be noted that epilepsy, the symptoms of which are very pronounced, is one of the most common types of neurological diseases — thus, every hundredth person on our planet experiences periodic epileptic seizures.

Epilepsy: the main features of the disease

In considering cases of epilepsy, you can see that it itself is a congenital disease. For this reason, her first attacks occur in children and adolescents, 5-10 and 12-18 years, respectively. In this situation, no damage is detected in the brain substance — only electrical activity that is peculiar to nerve cells changes. There is also a decrease in the threshold of excitability in the brain. Epilepsy in this case is defined as the primary (or idiopathic), its course is benign in character, in addition, it also lends itself to effective treatment. It is also important that, with primary epilepsy developing according to this scenario, the patient with age can completely eliminate the use of tablets as a necessity.

As another form of epilepsy, epilepsy is secondary (or symptomatic). Its development occurs even after damage to the brain and its structure in particular, or if there is a disturbance in its metabolism. With the latter option, the emergence of secondary epilepsy is accompanied by a complex series of factors of a pathological nature (underdevelopment of brain structures, craniocerebral trauma, stroke, dependence in one form or another, tumors, infections, etc.). The development of this form of epilepsy can occur regardless of age, the treatment of the disease in this case is much more difficult. Meanwhile, a complete cure is also a possible outcome, but only if the underlying disease is completely eliminated, epilepsy provoked.

In other words, epilepsy is divided into two groups according to origin: it is acquired epilepsy, the symptoms of which depend on the underlying causes (listed traumas and diseases) and epilepsy is hereditary, which, accordingly, arises from the transfer of genetic information to children from parents.

Types of epileptic seizures

Epilepsy manifestations appear, as we have noted, in the form of attacks, while they have their own classification:

  • Based on the cause of the onset (epilepsy primary and epilepsy secondary);
  • Based on the location of the original focus, characterized by excessive electrical activity (deep sections of the brain, left or right hemisphere)
  • Based on the variant that forms the development of events during the attack (with or without loss of consciousness).

With a simplified classification of epileptic seizures, seizures of generalized partial

Generalized seizures are characterized by attacks, in which there is complete loss of consciousness, as well as control over the actions performed. The reason for this situation is excessive activation, which is characteristic of the deep sections of the brain, which provokes the involvement of the whole brain afterwards. Not at all is the result of this state, expressed in the fall, because the muscle tone is broken only in rare cases.

With regard to this type of seizures, like partial seizures, here it can be noted that they are typical for 80% of the total number of adults and for 60% of children. Partial epilepsy, the symptoms of which are manifested in the formation of the focus with excessive electrical excitability in a particular area in the cerebral cortex, directly depends on the location of this focus. For this reason, the manifestations of epilepsy can be motor, mental, vegetative or sensitive (tactile).

It should be noted that partial epilepsy, as a localized and focal epilepsy, the symptoms of which are an isolated group of diseases, have metabolic or morphological lesions of a specific part of the brain in their own developmental basis. They can be caused by various factors (brain trauma, infection and inflammatory lesions, vascular dysplasia, acute type of cerebral circulation disorders, etc.).

If a person is in the mind, but with loss of control over a particular part of the body or if he has previously experienced unusual sensations, it is an simple bout . If there is a violation of consciousness (with a partial loss of consciousness), as well as a lack of understanding by the person of exactly where it is and what is happening to it at the moment, if entering into any contact with it is not possible, it is already Attack difficult . As with a simple attack, in this case, movements of an uncontrolled nature are carried out in this or that part of the body, often imitation of specifically directed movements occurs. Thus, a person can smile, walk, sing, talk, «hit the ball», «dive» or continue the action that he started before the attack.

Any of the types of seizures is short-lived, with a duration of up to three minutes. Almost every one of the attacks is accompanied by drowsiness and confusion after its completion. Accordingly, if there was a complete loss of consciousness during the attack or if there were violations of it, the person does not remember anything about it.

The main symptoms of epilepsy

As we already noted, epilepsy as a whole is characterized by the appearance of a vast convulsive fit. It begins, as a rule, suddenly, and, having no logical connection with external factors.

In some cases, it is possible to determine the time of the onset of such a seizure. In one or two days, epilepsy, whose early symptoms are expressed in general malaise, also indicates a violation of appetite and sleep, headaches and excessive irritability as fast as its precursors. In many cases, the appearance of an attack is accompanied by the appearance of an aura — for one and the same patient, its character is defined as stereotyped in the mapping. The aura lasts for a few seconds, followed by a loss of consciousness, possibly a fall, often accompanied by a peculiar cry that is caused by the spasm arising in the glottis when the muscles of the chest and diaphragm contract.

At the same time, there are tonic convulsions, in which both the trunk and limbs, being in a state of tension, are stretched, and the head is thrown back. Breathing is delayed, the veins in the neck region swell. The face acquires a deathly pallor, the jaws contract under the influence of the cramps. The duration of the tonic phase of the seizure is of the order of 20 seconds, after which clonic convulsions appear, appearing in the jerky contractions of the muscles of the trunk, extremities and neck. In this phase of seizure, lasting up to 3 minutes, often breathing becomes hoarseness and noise, which is due to the accumulation of saliva, as well as the stagnation of the tongue. There is also a secretion of foam from the mouth, often with blood, which occurs by biting the cheek or tongue.

Gradually, the frequency of seizures decreases, their ending leads to a complex muscular relaxation. This period is characterized by a lack of response to any kind of stimuli, regardless of the intensity of their effects. Pupils are in an expanded state, there is no reaction to light exposure. Reflexes of deep and protective type are not caused, however, urination of an involuntary character often occurs. Considering epilepsy, we can not fail to note the vastness in its varieties, and for each of them, the presence of proper features is inherent.

Epilepsy of newborns: symptoms

In this case, epilepsy of newborns, whose symptoms occur against a background of high fever, is defined as intermittent epilepsy. The reason for this is the general nature of seizures, in which convulsions pass from one limb to another and from one half of the body to the other.

Adult education of foam, as well as biting the tongue, as a rule, absent. It is also extremely rare for epilepsy and its symptoms in infants to be defined as actual phenomena characteristic of older children and adults, expressed in the form of involuntary urination. There is also no post-sleep sleep. Even after the consciousness returns, it is possible to reveal a characteristic weakness on the left or right side of the body, its duration can be up to several days.

Observations indicate in epilepsy in infants the symptoms that foreshadow the attack, which are the general irritability, headache and impaired appetite.

Temporal epilepsy: symptoms

Temporal epilepsy occurs due to a number of reasons, but there are primary factors contributing to its formation. So, this includes birth trauma, as well as brain damage, which develops from an early age due to injuries, including inflammatory and other types of onset.

Temporal epilepsy, the symptoms of which are expressed in polymorphic paroxysms with a prior aura of aura, has a duration of several minutes. Most often it has the following features:

  1. Abdominal feelings (nausea, abdominal pain, increased peristalsis)
  2. Symptoms of cardiac (palpitations, pains in the heart, arrhythmia)
  3. Difficulty breathing;
  4. Occurrence of involuntary phenomena in the form of sweating, swallowing, chewing, etc.
  5. The emergence of changes in consciousness (loss of connection of thoughts, disorientation, euphoria, calmness, panic, fears)
  6. Performing actions dictated by a temporary change in consciousness, lack of motivation in actions (undressing, gathering things, trying to escape, etc.)
  7. Frequent and severe personality changes expressed in paroxysmal mood disorders
  8. Significant type of autonomic disorders occurring between the seizures (changes in pressure, thermoregulation, various allergic reactions, metabolic-endocrine disorders, disorders in sexual function, disturbances in water-salt and fat metabolism, etc.)

Most often the disease has a chronic course with a characteristic tendency to gradual progression.

Epilepsy in children: symptoms

Such a problem, like epilepsy in children, whose symptoms are already known to you in their general form, has a number of own characteristics. Thus, in children it occurs much more often than in adults, and its causes may differ from similar cases of adult epilepsy, and, finally, not every of the seizures that occur among children is included in such a diagnosis as epilepsy.

The main (typical) symptoms, as well as signs of epileptic seizures in children are expressed as follows:

  • Convulsions expressed in rhythmic contractions characteristic of the muscles of the body
  • Temporary holding of breath, involuntary urination, and loss of stool
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Extremely strong muscle tension of the body (straightening of the legs, bending of the hands). The disorder of the movements of any part of the body, expressed in the twitching of the legs or hands, wrinkling or wrinkling of the lips, tilting back the eyes, forcing one side of the head turn.

In addition to typical forms, epilepsy in children, as well as epilepsy in adolescents and its symptoms, can be expressed in forms of a different type, the characteristics of which are not immediately recognized. For example, absence epilepsy.

Absence epilepsy: symptoms

The term absence from French translates as «absence». In this case, with a fit of falling and convulsions there — the child just freezes, ceasing to react to those events that occur around. Absence epilepsy is characterized by the following symptoms:

  1. Sudden fading, interruption of activity
  2. Missing or gaze, concentrated at one point
  3. The inability to attract the attention of a child
  4. Continued action by the child after the attack, with the exception of a time interval with a seizure from memory

Often this diagnosis is manifested about 6-7 years, while girls get sick more often approximately twice than boys. In two thirds of cases, the presence of relatives in the children with this disease is noted. On average, absence epilepsy and symptoms last for up to 6.5 years, then becoming less frequent and disappearing, or forming with time into a different form of the disease.

Rolandic epilepsy: symptoms

This type of epilepsy is one of the most common forms of epilepsy that is relevant for children. Characterized by the manifestation mainly at the age of 3-13 years, while the peak of its manifestation falls on the age of about 7-8 years. The debut of the disease for 80% of the total number of patients comes in 5-10 years, and, unlike the previous, absent epilepsy, it differs in that about 66% of patients it is boys.

Rolandic epilepsy, the symptoms of which are, in fact, typical, manifests itself in the following states:

  • Appearance of somatosensory aura (1/5 of the total number of cases). It is characterized by paresthesia (unusual sensation of numbness of the skin) of the muscles of the larynx and pharynx, cheeks with one-sided localization, and numbness of the gums, cheeks, sometimes of the tongue
  • The emergence of clonic one-sided, tonic-clonic seizures. In this case, the muscles of the face are involved in the process, in some cases the cramps can spread to the leg or arm. Involvement of the tongue, lips and pharyngeal muscles leads to the child’s description of the sensations in the form of «shift to the side of the jaw», «knocking teeth», «jittery tongue.»
  • Difficulties in speech. They are expressed in the exclusion of the possibility of uttering words and sounds, while stopping speech can occur at the very beginning of an attack or manifests itself in the course of its development;
  • Excessive salivation (hypersalivation)

A characteristic feature of this type of epilepsy also lies in the fact that it mainly occurs at night. For this reason, it is also defined as night epilepsy, the symptoms of which account for 80% of the total number of patients in the first half of the night and only 20% for waking and sleeping. Nocturnal convulsions have certain peculiarities, which, for example, consist in their relative short duration, as well as in the tendency to subsequent generalization (spreading the process around the organ or organism from a source of limited scale).

Myoclonic epilepsy: symptoms

This kind of epilepsy, like myoclonic epilepsy, the symptoms of which are characterized by a combination of twitching in severe epileptic seizures, is also known as myoclonus-epilepsy. This type of disease affects both sexes, while the morphological cell studies of cells of the spinal cord and brain, as well as the liver, heart and other organs in this case reveal carbohydrate deposits.

The disease begins at the age of 10 to 19 years, characterized by symptoms in the form of epileptic seizures. Later there are also myoclonias (muscle contractions of an involuntary nature in full or partial volume with or without a motor effect), which determines the name of the disease. Often, as a debut, mental changes occur. As for the frequency of seizures, it is different — it can occur both daily and with a frequency of several times a month and less frequently (with appropriate treatment). Possible violations are in consciousness, along with seizures.

Posttraumatic epilepsy: symptoms

In this case, posttraumatic epilepsy, the symptoms of which are characterized, like in other cases, by convulsions, are directly related to brain injuries resulting from head trauma.

The development of this type of epilepsy is relevant for 10% of those people who have experienced severe head injuries with the exception of penetrating brain wounds. The likelihood of epilepsy increases with penetrating brain injury to 40%. The manifestation of characteristic symptoms is possible and after a few years from the time of injury, while they depend directly on the site with pathological activity.

Alcoholic epilepsy: symptoms

Alcoholic epilepsy is a complication of alcoholism. There is a disease in convulsive seizures that occur suddenly. The onset of an attack is characterized by loss of consciousness, after which the face acquires a strong pallor and gradual cyanosis. Often, from the mouth when a seizure appears foam, vomiting occurs. Cessation of convulsions is accompanied by a gradual return of consciousness, after which the patient often falls into a sleep lasting up to several hours.

Alcoholic epilepsy is expressed in the following symptoms:

  1. Loss of consciousness, fainting
  2. Convulsions
  3. Severe pain, «burning»;
  4. Muscle reduction, squeezing, tightening of the skin.

The onset of a seizure may occur within the first few days after the discontinuation of alcohol intake. Often, seizures are accompanied by hallucinations, characteristic of alcoholism. The cause of epilepsy is a prolonged alcohol poisoning, especially when using surrogates. An additional impetus can serve as a transferred craniocerebral trauma, an infectious type of disease and atherosclerosis.

Bessodorozhnaya epilepsy: symptoms

An unconvulsive form of seizures with epilepsy is a fairly frequent variant of its development. Bessodorozhnaya epilepsy, the symptoms of which can be expressed, for example, in twilight consciousness, manifests itself suddenly. Its duration is on the order of several minutes to several days with the same sudden disappearance.

In this case, there is a narrowing of consciousness, in which from the various manifestations peculiar to the external world, the patient perceives only that part of the phenomena (objects) that are emotionally significant for them. For the same reason, hallucinations and various delusions often arise. In hallucinations, the character is extremely intimidating when staining their visual form in gloomy colors. This condition can provoke an attack on others with trauma, often the situation is fatal. This type of epilepsy is characterized by mental disorders, respectively, emotions manifest themselves in the extreme degree of their expression (rage, horror, less often — ecstasy and ecstasy). After the attacks, the patients are forgotten with the events, the residual memories of the events are much less likely to appear.

Epilepsy: First Aid

Epilepsy, the first symptoms of which can scare a person unprepared, requires some protection for the patient from getting them a possible injury during a fit. For this reason, with epilepsy, the first aid is to provide the patient with a soft and flat surface underneath, for which soft things or clothes are placed under the body. It is important to relieve the patient’s body from the objects of the tightening (first of all it touches the chest, neck and waist). The head should be turned to one side, giving the most comfortable position for exhalation of the vomit and saliva.

The legs and hands should be slightly held until the seizure is completed, without opposing convulsions. To protect the tongue from bites, as well as teeth from possible fractures, put something soft (napkin, scarf) in the mouth. With closed jaws, they should not be opened. Water can not be given during an attack. When falling asleep after an attack, the patient should not be awakened.

Epilepsy: treatment

There are two main points in the treatment of epilepsy. The first is the individualized selection of the effective type of medicines with their dosages, and the second is the long-term management of patients with the required administration and modification of doses. In general, the treatment is focused on the creation of appropriate conditions that ensure the restoration and normalization of the human condition at the psycho-emotional level with the correction of violations in the functions of certain internal organs, that is, the treatment of epilepsy is focused on the causes provoking the characteristic symptoms with their elimination.

To diagnose a disease, you need to contact a neurologist who, when properly supervised, will select the appropriate solution individually. As for frequent expressed mental disorders, in this case, treatment is carried out by a psychiatrist.