Conditions

Epilepsy

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a long-term condition which causes people to have what are known as fits, attacks, convulsions, or seizures. Affecting about 456,000 people in the UK alone, epilepsy is a pretty common condition, and, though it can start at any age, it’s most likely to begin in childhood. In fact, figures suggest that about one in every 280 children is affected by epilepsy. But why are the seizures caused, can you prevent them, and are they serious?

Well, seizures are caused when electrical impulses in the brain are suddenly disrupted. Normally, these electrical impulses are used by the neurons (the cells in the brain) to communicate. When they are disrupted, however, the communication breaks down, resulting in sudden changes to body movements, awareness, behaviour, emotions or senses. As the severity of seizures differs from person to person, though some may only experience mild ‘trance-like’ states, only lasting several seconds or minutes, others can suffer more seriously, experiencing uncontrollable shaking of the body (known as convulsions), and some can even lose consciousness.

Epilepsy can be broken down into three types: symptomatic epilepsy, where the symptoms are a result of disruption or damage to the brain; cryptogenic epilepsy, where the symptoms, such as learning difficulties, suggest that damage to the brain has occurred, though there is no evidence of brain damage; and idiopathic epilepsym, where no obvious cause can be found.

Though epilepsy is not normally a life-threatening condition, a small number of people in the UK do die from epilepsy every year. Though some deaths are accounted for by accidents and an uncommon type of seizure called status epilepticus, Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) is the most common cause of death, resulting in roughly 500 deaths in the UK every year. However, though this figure may appear large, SUDEP’s are in fact very rare, affecting only 0.5% of people with severe epilepsy. As there are many different types of epilepsy, and the risk of SUDEP developing depends upon the type you have, it is incredibly important to learn as much as you can about the type of epilepsy you, or your child, has, in order to understand how best to manage it.

For most epilepsy sufferers, however, the outlook is very good. Mostly, symptoms can be controlled using anti-epileptic drugs (AED), though it may take a while to find the right type and dose of AED, before your seizures are brought under control.

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hi for 7 months now my daughter has been having a seizure once every month, she is still being investigated for epilepsy but i am a concerned mother who only wants to know whats going on, thing is with my daughter is that each seizure she has had is different from the one she has had before, she used to have them in her sleep for a few minutes, she had a major one that lasted 20 mins and was given medicine to stop the seizure, shes had ones where just her leg shakes, ones where she knows its coming and can talk through it.. it will happen once a month and now on that day she will have more to come, shes had 3 eeg's and is not getting any results :( can anyone give any advice as i have been trying to look up this condition on my own as doctors say my daughter may just be a mystery (which does not help me 1 bit) many thanks a concerned mother





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My name is Danielle and I had been diagnosed with Epilepsy when I was 10. Now I'm 13. I still have major episodes and I'm kind of scared of what would it be like when I get older. Can anybody give me some idea's of how to calm down a little.





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I run a page on facebook for the parents of children with epilepsy, and am SO glad to see this here!





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I had a vns fit last march 2012 and am on 3000mg of keppra a day.I feel drowsy and exhausted at times and wondered if anyone else feels like this? I am still having seizures and the vns electricity is dispersing though my teeth which is quite painful has this happened to anyone else?





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I'm 27 and am taking 18 tablets aday, I have grand mal and panic attacks also aura fits. About 4 months ago I had a vns ( vagus nerve stimulation ) implant in my chest to help the fits, and depression with all the tablets I have to take twice a day. I also get very tired and am very confused and forgetful but have had this since I was 14 and am trying not to let it win.





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my son has had fits since the day he was bornhe is now 6.i had a really bad birth and he was 2weeks over due.at first doctors would tell me he was doing it for attention how a new born baby would no how do do anythink for attention is beyonde me.i had finally had enough 2yrs ago and told doctors i was taking it further if they never got to the bottom of things.finally doctors agreed to do tests.he had mri scan and a heart scan the heart scan revieled he had a very small pin hole in his heart whitch they say is normal for a boy and wound close but his brain scan results just said all looked ok no major consernes.av asked wot it means but got no furter . he still has fits now an alls they say is he will grow out of them by the time he is 10.i just dont no what way to turn.





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My son is 19 months he chokes on solid food to the point where he is head.... He had a fit 2months ago and dead we had to give him mouth to mouth does anyone kno what it could be hospital isn't doing a thing





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hi my name is jenny and i have epilepsy, and was diagnoised with grAnd mal sejuires when i was 14 and currently on sodium valpourate and clonazepam. I only ever had 5 sejuires, in my early teen years. am now nearly 27 and taking the meds, but am i still epileptic??? please help. my memory is awful, tired all the time, i struggle with the demands of my 4 year old son. lathergic. help needed.





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I was diagnosed with Epilepsy when i was 2 years old, im now 17 and i very rarely have an epileptic fit. I'm still on my medication because im doing my AS levels. I hope the little boy in the video manages to grow out of his fits and have a normal life.





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i was diagnoesd with epilepsy when i was aged 6.I did nt understand it at first but i had my first tonic clonic seizure when i was 12. But this year and last year have been diffcult i have had 2 to 3 years and i have been in hospital plus my tablets have nt been working well. i am going through depression and bad anixety





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Content supplied by NHS Choices

Epilepsy is a condition that causes somebody to have repeated fits. The medical term for an epileptic fit is seizure. Read More »