Epilepsy is a chronic brain disease that is characterized by epileptic seizures that appear spontaneously. An epileptic seizure is a complex of symptoms that occur due to certain electric activity in a person’s brain. This is quite a serious neurological disease, that sometimes poses a threat to life. Epilepsy requires regular examination and drug treatment (in most cases). In strict adherence to the doctor’s recommendations, one can get rid of the symptoms almost completely. This means, that the patient can lead a normal lifestyle, with minimal or without any discomfort.
Epilepsy in adults is quite well-spread.
According to statistics, about 5% of the world population have experienced an epileptic seizure at least once. It doesn’t mean, that they have epilepsy. In this case, a single epileptic seizure may be caused by various factors, that are not related to the disease. In epilepsy, the attacks happen regular (with a certain periodicity). As a rule, they are caused by some external reasons.
The epileptic seizure does not include sudden fainting, falling down and convulsions with foaming at mouth only. Its clinical manifestations are much wider: the seizure may involve motor, sensitive, vegetative, mental, visual, auditory, olfactory, and taste disturbances, with or without loss of consciousness. One patient can suffer from some of the symptoms, another patient from other symptoms. It is quite hard to establish epilepsy because of the wide range of its manifestations.
The disease has many causative factors.
Unfortunately, in some cases, they cannot even be established. That’s why, it is more common to talk about epilepsy risk factors, rather than its reasons. For example, a craniocerebral trauma may increase the risk of epilesy, but it is not a sure cause.
The risk factors are classified into the following groups:
- Hereditary predisposition;
- acquired predisposition.
Hereditary predisposition is enclosed in the functional state of neurons. In people with epilepsy predisposition, the neurons are inclined to generate electrical impulses even under minor external impact. This peculiarity is encoded in genes and passes on from generation to generation. Under certain conditions (the action of other risk factors), this neurons’ activity transforms into epilepsy.
Acquired predisposition is a result of an illness or pathological state of the brain. The diseases, that may enforce the development of epilepsy, include the following:
- craniocerebral trauma;
- meningitis, encephalitis;
- acute disorders of cerebral circulation (especially hemorrhage);
- brain tumors;
- toxic brain damage due to drugs or alcohol abuse;
- cysts, aneurysms of the brain.