What Is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a kind of brain disorder in which the person gets episodes of abnormal behavior and sensations, which are accompanied by convulsions and spasms. These episodes are known as attacks or seizures. In case of an epileptic attack, the symptoms might be mild or severe, depending on the overall constitution of the person. A very severe attack of epilepsy could lead to unconsciousness and could also be fatal.
A person can also have seizures without being an epileptic patient. Having just one seizure, which could be on account of high fever, is not epilepsy. Doctors diagnose epilepsy only when the person has had more than two seizures.
When Does a Seizure Occur?
Our brain transmits and receives messages from the entire nervous system through the agency of electrical signals. Each and every bodily activity is controlled by these electrical impulses. However, sometimes this system might go awry. When that happens, there could be a surfeit of electrical impulses generated within the brain, and that is what leads to a seizure.
The electrical impulses, if they are in excess, do not remain localized in the brain. They could spread to the muscles of the neck, shoulders, and limbs. This causes involuntary twitching of these muscles. This is the reason why an epileptic patient displays spasms and convulsions, some of which could be very frightening.
What Is the Prevalence of Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a fairly common brain disorder that affects children more than adults. About 3 in 10 cases of epilepsy are found in children. The other risk zone of epilepsy is the senior group. There are few cases of epilepsy in people between 16 and 60 years.
In the US, where epilepsy is quite prevalent, about 180,000 cases are diagnosed each year.
Why Does Epilepsy Occur?
Epilepsy indicates some damage to the brain. This could be because of several factors, such as:-
- Deficiency of oxygen supply to the brain during birth
- Tumors in the brain
- Injuries to the head that might occur during birth
- Injuries to the head caused by accidents
- Certain infections of the brain — for example: encephalitis, meningitis
- High amount of sodium which could impair brain function
- Genetic diseases such as tuberous sclerosis.
What Are the Risk Factors of Epileptic Seizures?
Though the exact cause of epilepsy cannot be pinpointed, medical science has been able to identify the risk factors. These factors can exacerbate the electric signals in the damaged brain to such a point that it could lead to a seizure. The following are some of the points that might trigger an epileptic seizure:-
- Lack of sleep — A sleep-deprived brain has to overwork, which can cause an increase of electric impulses in the brain.
- Consuming dangerous levels of alcohol — Moderate amounts of alcohol is all right for most epileptic patients. But if excess is consumed, then it can confuse the brain signals. Epileptic patients must avoid alcohol, and if they do consume, they should avoid reaching the intoxication point.
- Consuming dangerous narcotic drugs — This works in the same manner as alcohol, by confusing brain signals.
- Skipping medication — Epilepsy medication should not be skipped. These specific antibiotics help in bringing about normal functioning of the brain. In their absence, the brain impulses can get muddled, which could lead to a seizure.
What Are the Warning Signs of an Epileptic Seizure?
Not all seizures are due to epilepsy. Also, different epileptic patients show different kinds of symptoms. Hence, it is difficult to talk about any specific warning signs. However, the following are some of the common things that you must watch out for:-
- Before a seizure, a person will often become listless and uncommunicative.
- They will stare in the empty space and at nothing in particular for long periods of time.
- They might display some abnormal behavior, such as speaking words that make no sense.
- They might contort their faces wildly, sometimes in frightening ways.
- Their arms and legs might begin to twitch.
- They might show violent convulsions.
- They might lose consciousness.
As the person’s tryst with epilepsy gets prolonged, their symptoms start aggravating as well. The condition becomes more and more severe if adequate care and treatment is not taken.
What to Do if a Person Has an Epileptic Seizure?
If you are the caretaker of a person who has a history with epilepsy, then you must do the following things immediately when the attack begins:-
- Place something soft under the person’s head such as a cushion.
- Loosen the clothing of the person, especially around the neck area.
- Do not let the person lie on the back. Turn them so that they are on one side of their body.
- Let the patient convulse if they are not harming themselves. Do not try to restrict them in any way, except by using your hands with a gentle but firm hold.
- If there is anything in their mouth, try to get it out. Be careful here because their teeth might convulse rapidly, injuring your fingers. At the same time, if you allow that food to remain in their mouth, it may enter their windpipe and choke them.
- Do not put anything in their mouth during the attack, not even water.
- Check how their eyes move and what parts of their body convulse. You will have to tell this to the medical officer later, who will then be able to tell you about the severity and type of epilepsy.
One important thing that all caregivers for epilepsy patients must remember is not to keep any dangerous things within their reach. Even when eating food, give them plastic forks and spoons. Do not let them handle knives or any tools or implements. Be also careful when they visit the bathroom. It is recommended that they don’t latch themselves in, for a lot of attacks happen when the person is in the bath.
Epilepsy cannot be treated. But with proper care, the person can learn to live with the condition.
Health pack for epilepsy
- Brahmi churan
- Medha vati
- Smriti sagar ras
- Ashwagandha churan
- Manasmitram gulika
- Medha kwath
- Badam rogan oil
How to use health pack for epilepsy
Mix all the ingredients from 1 to 5 and consume ¾ teaspoon with sweet milk.
Medha kwath is to made as herbal tea to be consumed twice a day. Badam rogan oil is to be used as nasal drops (2 drops) bed time in both nostrils.