Epilepsy : Frequently Asked Questions

What is a seizure?

Seizure is an abnormal electrical discharge of a group of brain cells.Seizure can produce a variety of symptoms depending on the location of the seizure focus and the spread of the electrical activity through the brain.In some cases,seizures cause only a loss of consciousness,a period of confusion,a staring spell or muscle spasms.

What is epilepsy ?

A person has epilepsy when he/she has more than 1 episode of epileptic seizures.

What are the symptoms of seizures?

Common symptoms experienced either before or during seizure are :

  • Loss of balance
  • Weakness : Any area of the body depending on seizure type
  • Contraction or jerking of body muscles
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Frothing from mouth
  • Eyes rolling upwards
  • Tongue biting
  • Lip samcking
  • Purposeless or repetitive movements,Vigorous movements
  • Abnormal screaming
  • Uncontrolled passing of urine or stools
  • Anxiety : Provide signal a seizure is about to occur
  • Giddiness

Which factors triggers seizures ?
The following condition can trigger a seizure :
  • Forgetting to take prescribed medication
  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Concurrent infection like flu or fever
  • Flickering or flashing lights
  • Head injury
  • Hypoglycemia-Irregular meals causing low blood sugar level
  • Menstruation
  • Heavy drinking
  • Medication side effects of selective medication like anti psychotic,anti depressant.
  • Unknown cause
What are the investigations done to diagnose Epilepsy ?
  • EEG – Electroencephelography
  • CT Scan of Brain Plain & Contrast
What are the treatment options available for seizure?
A) Medical Treatment :- Anti-epileptic medications
B) Surgical Treatment :- Brain surgery
What are the safety measures given by caretakers to avoid injury from seizure?

Do’s during or after seizure:
  • Take away items that could cause injury if the person falls or bumps into them
  • Put anything soft and flat under the head
  • Gently turn the person on his or her side so any fluid in the mouth can safely come out
  • Loosen anything around the neck
  • Observe the type and the duration of seizure to tell the doctor
  • Call the doctor if the person is having seizure for the first time or longer seizure than the person normally has
  • Stay calm and comfort the patient
  • When the seizure is over,watch the person for signs of confusion.
  • Allow the person to rest or sleep if he or she wishes.
  • Try to hold the patient or move to another place
  • Trying to force the person’s mouth open or put anything in it
  • Try to stop any movements 
  • Crowd around the person
  • Give smell of footwear or onion or socks to the patient
What precautionary measures need to be taken to prevent seizure?
Prevent a seizure from recurring by:
  • Take regularly the anti-epileptic medications
  • Having sufficient sleep
  • Learning to relax
  • Avoiding alcohol
What are the facts about epilepsy?
  • Epilepsy is not contagious but it is medical condition develop at anytime.
  • People with epilepsy have some range of abilities and intelligence as anyone else.
  • People with epilepsy can start a family after consulting with the doctor.
  • People with epilepsy can do normal job and occupations which are safe and hazard free like office work,teaching etc.
  • People with epilepsy should avoid driving or handling sharp objects etc.
  • People with epilepsy should not do jobs such as Pilot’s job,working at heights,driving public transport etc.
  • People with epilepsy can participate in most sports like including swimming with informed qualified supervision and safety precautions.
  • If your child has epilepsy you should inform about it to the concern school or class teacher so that in any emergency they will follow what to do.
  • Being pregnant does not affect epilepsy.However there are small chances that the epilepsy drugs may affect the unborn child.So it is important to consult the specialist and plan pregnancy.
  • It has nothing to do with curses,possession or other supernatural processes such as punishment of past sins.
  • Between seizures,a person with is no different from anyone else.
  • Like asthma,diabetes and high blood pressure,epilepsy is a medical problem.
” Men think epilepsy divine,merely because they do not understand it…
We will one day understand what causes it,and then cease to call it divine.
And so it is with everything in the universe.”

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