Epilepsy is a disease related to the central nervous system(CNS) in which brain activity becomes abnormal. It causes unusual behaviour, sensations and sometimes loss of awareness and also consciousness. Epilepsy in simpler words is a seizer disorder which means that a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain. Brain cells either excite or stop other brain cells from sending messages.
The main symptoms of epilepsy are getting repeated seizures. Seizures can vary depending on which part of the brain is involved. Commonly it could cause a jerk or a shake in the body which is often referred to as fits. Other symptoms are smacking your lips, stare blankly into space, rubbing your hands, body getting stiff etc.
In order to diagnose the disease, the doctor will look into the symptoms as stated above and also your medical record. To start off with the doctor will take your neurological exam(no mugging up requires phew!!!) wherein the doctor may test your behaviour, motor abilities, mental function and other areas to diagnose your condition and determine the type of epilepsy you may have. The doctor may take your blood test in order to look for any infections or genetic conditions causing these seizers. Then after an Electroencephalogram (EEG) test will be run where electrodes will be attached to your scalp and will record the electrical activity of the brain.
If you have epilepsy then your brain waves pattern will differ from the normal ones even if you’re not having seizers. If you get seizers at that time then the doctor will record it and analyse it. For further research, the doctor will tell you ways from which you can get seizers which will allow the doctor to completely diagnose your disease. This is one way of diagnosis and is the most common way of doing so. Further tests can also be catered such as MRI, fMRI, Neuropsychological tests(doctors check memory, thinking and speaking skills).
Basic treatment is done by medications which is the first step and the most common treatment. Thanks to EEG which was developed in the 1950s which helps in predicting the seizers and analysing it.EEG has developed a lot, before it was completely manual but as of today, it has completely become computerized and easier for the doctors to analyse it.If the medications do not work then there has to be a epilepsy surgery to take place. By doing the surgery the doctors will come to know that which part of the brain is responsible for the seizers and then that area is removed.Apart from these medications and surgery there are therapies to cure epilepsy, such as Vagus nerve stimulation a device is placed beneath the skin of the chest which is connected to the vagus nerve in the neck. Another therapy is a Ketogenic diet this is an diet for kids to overcome the seizers.
Further research is going on upon the treatments which include Responsive neurostimulation(a device which may prevent seizers).Minimally invasive surgery (less risky than the surgery).Stereotactic laser ablation or stereotactic radiosurgery( laser surgery instead of open surgery).
This disease can have a lot of impact on the patient’s social life as because of his/her behaviour people might want to stay away from them, if any child is facing epilepsy then he/she might be boycotted in the school. It is very necessary for the society to accept these people and work accordingly. The disease might break an individual from the inside where he/she might feel excluded and stupid in front of everyone, they might be afraid of meeting people and would like to stay isolated. Ethically the treatment is not at all against as it does not include any transplantation.Economically it can affect a person very much as the surgery cost around $110,000 which is a huge amount for middle-class people, this is one of the reasons why the scientists are coming up with another method instead of open surgery.The therapies which are developed over time is not that expensive hence it gives a chance for the middle-class people to cure their epilepsy disease.Culturaly the surgery has no obstructions but the only problem is in the diet included for the child, it might include certain things which are not accepted in the patient’s culture.The technological advancement in the cure of epilepsy has helped people cure and be socially accepted again and lead a happy confident life.