Epileptic seizures are periodic disorders of the electrical activity of the brain, leading to temporary cerebral dysfunction. For normal brain function, electrical impulses need to be discharged in an orderly, organized and coordinated manner. About 2% of adults experience a crisis at some point in their lives. In two-thirds of cases, the crisis is unique. Epileptic seizures usually begin early in childhood or late in adulthood. In this article, we will be talking about the causes and symptoms of epilepsy.
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Causes of Epilepsy
Behind this problem, there are many factors involved and the worst part is, they are hard to identify.
1Factors that act before birth
There are several factors that actually hurt the development of the brain. In certain cases, these factors can even stop the development of the brain or lead to abnormal brain development or in rare cases, it can lead to the destruction of normally formed brain structures. These factors are –
- Maternal infections before or during pregnancy.
- Drugs and industrial pollutants.
- Maternal diabetes.
- Use of tobacco; responsible for delayed growth in the uterus of the baby.
- Use of Alcohol; responsible for effects on cognitive development, delay in uterine growth of the child, and others.
- Inappropriate fetal position in the uterus, which can lead to the lower placenta, umbilical cord prolapse.
- Labor abnormalities – labor too slow or too fast.
2Factors that act at birth and in the first month of birth:
As we discussed above, all reasons that lead to a complicating delivery result in inappropriate oxygenation of the brain. Hence, damage to the structure of the brain. There are several factors responsible for this, such as:
- Infections caused by bacteria or/and viruses.
- Intracranial hemorrhages produced by obstetrical or spontaneous trauma. As we all know that the newborn’s cerebral vessels are extremely fragile.
- Metabolic factors.
- Acute infections of the brain.
- Head trauma.
- Brain tumors: Though these are rare causes of epilepsy in children.
- Genetic factors.
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3A few more causes of Epilepsy
- Crises that begin before the age of 2 years are usually caused by high fever or metabolic diseases such as abnormal blood glucose, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6 or sodium levels.
- If seizures are recurrent, they are probably caused by a hereditary brain disease.
- People with the epileptic disease have a high risk of having a crisis when they are under intense physical or emotional stress, or when they do not get enough sleep.
- Strong stimuli that irritate the brain – such as injuries, certain medications, sleep deprivation, infections, fever, lowering blood oxygen levels, or lowering blood glucose levels.
- Rarely, crises are triggered by repetitive sounds, flashing lights, video games, or even touching certain parts of the body. This disease is called reflex epilepsy.
Symptoms of Epilepsy
Symptoms vary depending on the area affected by the abnormal electrical discharge.
- For example, if electrical anomalies occur in the area that controls the smell, then the person can feel an intense, pleasant or unpleasant olfactory sensation.
- If the anomaly is located in another area of the temporal lobe, then the patient can experience a feeling, where unknown places seem very familiar.
- If abnormal discharge affects the frontal lobe, then the patient may become unable to speak.
- Numbness or tingling in a particular region of the body.
- Strain and/or involuntary contractions of the right or left limbs or of all limbs.
- Involuntary deviation of the head and eyes to the left or right.
- Involuntary contractions of the mouth and eyelids.
However, epilepsy can be treated. Once you know the cause behind it, it becomes easy to eliminate it. For example, if a crisis has been triggered because of low blood glucose level, then glucose is the solution to increase blood glucose. In my next article, I will talk about the treatments.