Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding


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Epilepsy Resource Basics

These seizures are also subdivided into several types. See ILAE.

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Usually seizures last from a few seconds to minutes. Seizures that do not stop are known as status epilepticus. It is a very serious condition requiring immediate medical attention.

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If you see someone enduring a seizure lasting longer than a few minutes, you should call for emergency assistance. Seizures are caused by abnormal brain activity, which is diagnosed by an EEG. Non-epileptic seizures physically look like seizures but do not show abnormal brain activity on an EEG.

US Institute of Medicine Report - Epilepsy Across the Spectrum, Promoting Health and Understanding

These are known as pseudo seizures. The majority of epilepsy cases diagnosed are classified as idiopathic or primary epilepsy, which means no known cause can be found. If a cause for seizures can be identified, this is known as symptomatic or secondary epilepsy. Specific conditions known to cause damage to the brain have been identified as risk factors to developing epilepsy.

MDHHS - Epilepsy Resource Basics

Genetic links have been identified with some types of epilepsy, and a family history of epilepsy also has been identified as a risk factor. Seizures can occur either at the time of an injury, or months or even years after the injury. Seizures that take place at the onset of injury are known as acute symptomatic seizures.


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Those that start after a period of time are known as remote symptomatic seizures. An epilepsy syndrome refers to a specific diagnosis determined by various details. Information required for this diagnosis includes not only seizure types but also severity, time of day of occurrence, age of onset, causes and seizure triggers. Clinical data from EEGs, results of diagnostic tests and full medical history prove valuable as well.

Health Information. Normal Physiology The brain controls all functions of the body.


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  4. A seizure results when abnormal electrical activity of the brain temporarily alters behavior. Seizures Seizures can occur for many different reasons and can vary greatly in their appearance.

    Partial Seizures Partial seizures begin in a single area of the brain and are subdivided further into simple partial and complex partial, according to how much consciousness is impaired during the seizure. Generalized Seizures Generalized seizures begin in both sides of the brain and quickly spread; consciousness is lost at the beginning of the seizure. Causes of epileptic and non-epileptic seizures The majority of epilepsy cases diagnosed are classified as idiopathic or primary epilepsy, which means no known cause can be found.

    These include: Congenital birth defects Birthing difficulties Head traumas Infections affecting the brain Tumors affecting the brain Cerebral vascular disease Genetic links have been identified with some types of epilepsy, and a family history of epilepsy also has been identified as a risk factor.


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    Epilepsy, or seizure disorder, is a neurologic condition characterized by a tendency to have recurrent seizures. New cases of epilepsy are most common in children and older adults, and risk factors are most common in these age groups.

    National Association of Epilepsy Centers

    Preventable causes of epilepsy include traumatic brain injuries, stroke, cerebral infections, lead exposure, and perinatal complications. Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurologic disorder in the United States, following migraine, stroke, and Alzheimer disease. The fact that only about half of adults with active epilepsy have seen a neurologist or an epilepsy specialist in the past 12 months confirms a treatment gap found in previous surveys, said the authors of the MMWR article.

    They noted that epilepsy is a spectrum of disorders requiring adequate access to appropriate care to ensure effective treatment for improving seizure control and quality of life.

    IOM Epilepsy

    They added that cultural beliefs and practices, referral to and availability of specialty care, transportation barriers, and cost might affect access to specialty care. A report by the Institute of Medicine IOM , Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding , stresses that although effective treatments are available for many types of epilepsy, timely referral and access to those treatments are lacking. The IOM report also calls for thorough education of persons with epilepsy and their families, to include health literacy and cultural considerations, and the elimination of stigma of epilepsy.

    November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month. For more information, visit the Epilepsy Foundation website.

    Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding
    Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding
    Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding
    Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding
    Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding
    Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding
    Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding

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