Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain and affects around 50 million people in the world. Around 5 million individuals are diagnosed with epilepsy every year. Up to 10% of people worldwide experience one seizure over their lives, thus having one does not necessarily indicate epilepsy. Having two or more unprovoked seizures is considered epilepsy.
There are many stigmas and misinformation that prevent people from receiving quality treatment for epilepsy. Different types of seizures affect the person differently. Thus, identifying and knowing the various types of seizures is also important to know the best treatments.
Here, we have discussed the different types of seizures associated with epilepsy and treatment options for you.
What Are The Different Types Of Seizures?
When someone is having a seizure, it can be occasionally difficult to tell. A person having a seizure could appear confused or like they are staring into the distance. Other seizures may cause a person to shake, tumble, and lose awareness of their surroundings.
The different types of seizures a person with epilepsy can have are. These are
1. Focal Seizures
Also known as a partial seizure, a focal seizure is localized to one region of the brain. These can originate in a particular part of the brain and then eventually move to others. When such a seizure happens, there may be an uneasy feeling in the stomach. Some symptoms of a focal seizure are
- Twitching of the muscles
- Repetitive movements such as chewing or clapping
- Lack of movement
- Changes in thoughts or emotions
2. Generalized Seizures
Generalized seizures affect both the right and left sides of the brain. If someone is suffering from generalized epilepsy then it is possible to experience symptoms such as:
- Limp limbs or weakness
- Twitching of the muscles
- Rigid and tense muscles
- Brief twitches
- Fluttering of eyelids
- A sudden halt in the movement of the person
Neurologists classify epilepsy into different types based on the type of seizures. There are three types of epilepsy: Focal, generalized, and unknown epilepsy. In the case of unknown epilepsy, the doctor is unable to pinpoint the source of seizures. These individuals can show symptoms such as
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of control over bowel and bladder movement
Typically, seizures last for about 1-3 minutes. However, if you observe someone having a seizure for over 5 minutes, you should get in touch with emergency medical services at once. Knowing the seizure first aid can also help in ensuring that the person having the seizure is safe.
Though the exact cause of epilepsy remains unknown, there are certain conditions that can increase the possibility of epilepsy such as brain damage, stroke, or infections in the brain. Epilepsy tends to affect the patient both physically and mentally. An epilepsy patient usually suffers from physical problems such as bruising or fractures. Depression and anxiety are also high in people with epilepsy.
Treatment Options For Epilepsy
The treatment for epilepsy is focused on reducing the occurrence of seizures. By controlling seizures, epilepsy treatment can improve the quality of life for several people living with epilepsy. Most people benefit from medications. But, for others who are not responding well to drugs, other treatments for epilepsy do exist. As a person living with epilepsy, you should be aware of all possible treatments for your condition. If you feel that your current line of treatment is not working, then you can get a second opinion from our neuroscience board to know more about your treatment options.
Let’s discuss some of the treatments for epilepsy
Neurologists will use medications such as anti-epileptic drugs to stop or control seizures. Your doctor will prescribe medications based on several factors such as your age, medical history, and the type of seizures you have been experiencing. Most people with epilepsy usually respond positively to this form of treatment. Anti-epileptic drugs are some of the most common treatments for epilepsy. Though they do not cure epilepsy, they can change the chemical levels in your brain thereby preventing seizures from happening. You should follow the dose of your medicines as prescribed by your doctor. It is common to experience side effects as you start taking these medicines such as lack of energy, drowsiness, and headaches.
Surgery is another treatment for epilepsy. However, this is usually considered if your medications are not working or if the seizure site is located in a small region of the brain that can be removed without causing any serious damage. Usually, the surgery for epilepsy will be carried out after putting you under general anesthesia. The neurosurgeon will then make an incision in the scalp and remove the affected region of the brain.
3. Ketogenic Diet
A ketogenic diet could also help in controlling seizures. This diet is rich in fats and low in carbohydrates. This diet is effective in the case of children with epilepsy. The ketogenic diet works by changing chemical levels in the brain. However, you should start this diet only after consulting with a neurologist and a dietitian.
4. Vagus Nerve Stimulation
This is an FDA-approved treatment for conditions such as depression and epilepsy. A vagus nerve stimulation works by changing the electrical activity in your brain. In this, a device is attached to your chest and is connected to the vagus nerve in the neck. This device then sends mild and regular electrical energy impulses to your brain through the vagus nerve. It doesn’t stop the seizures from happening completely but it is successful in making them less frequent and severe.
5. Deep Brain Stimulation
Deep brain stimulation has a similarity with a VNS. However, in a DBS, the device implanted in the chest is directly connected to the wires that are going inside the brain. When electrical impulses are sent along these wires then these can prevent seizures from occurring by changing the electrical activity of the brain.
Getting The Best Treatment For Epilepsy
As you have read, there are many treatment options for epilepsy. When you are seeking solutions for your epilepsy, you should consider the qualifications and experience of your neurologist or neurosurgeon. This can help you get the right treatment for your epilepsy. If board-certified medical experts are out of reach, we can help you get in touch with them from any part of the world with telemedicine, our platform for online consultations. We can also assist you when you are planning to travel abroad for your epilepsy treatment by supporting you with airport transfers, accommodation, and much more.
Avail Epilepsy Treatment Across the World
Treatments for epilepsy have improved significantly over the past decade. There are now more treatment options available for you than before. By discussing the type, frequency, and effect of seizures on your life with your neurologist, you can know about many treatments for yourself. If you have been diagnosed with epilepsy, talk to a neurologist now and get the best treatment.