Epilepsy results in an estimated annual cost of $15.5 billion in medical costs
About 10% of people will experience a seizure sometime during their lifetime and about 3% will have had a diagnosis of epilepsy by age 80.
Epilepsy affects about 2.0 million Americans.
Other ways to treat epilepsy include vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), ketogenic diet (now only recommended for children with difficult to treat epilepsy) and surgery.
Epilepsy is usually treated with medicines
Head CT or MRI scan often done to find the cause and location of the problem in the brain.
An EEG (electroencephalogram) will be done to check the electrical activity in the brain. People with epilepsy will often have abnormal electrical activity seen on this test.
The doctor will perform a physical exam, which will include a detailed look at the brain and nervous system.
Tonic-clonic seizures (also called grand mal). The most intense of all types of seizures, these are characterized by a loss of consciousness, body stiffening and shaking, and sometimes loss of bladder control or biting your tongue.
Atonic seizures. Also known as drop attacks, these seizures cause you to lose normal muscle tone and suddenly collapse or fall down.
Myoclonic seizures. These seizures usually appear as sudden brief jerks or twitches of your arms and legs.
Clonic seizures. These types of seizures are associated with rhythmic, jerking muscle contractions, usually affecting the arms, neck and face.
Tonic seizures. These seizures cause stiffening of the muscles, generally those in your back, arms and legs and may cause you to fall to the ground.
Absence seizures (also called petit mal). These seizures are characterized by staring and subtle body movement, and can cause a brief loss of awareness.
Seizures that seem to involve all of the brain are called generalized seizures.
Complex focal seizures often result in staring and nonpurposeful movements
Complex focal seizures. These seizures alter consciousness or awareness, causing you to lose awareness for a period of time.
They may alter emotions or change the way things look, smell, feel, taste or sound. They may also result in involuntary jerking of part of the body
Simple focal seizures. These seizures don't result in loss of consciousness.
When seizures appear to result from abnormal activity in just one part of the brain, they're called focal or partial seizures.
In most cases, a person with epilepsy will tend to have the same type of seizure each time, so the symptoms will be similar from episode to episode.
Epilepsy seizures usually begin between ages 5 and 20, but they can happen at any age. There may be a family history of seizures or epilepsy.
Common causes of epilepsy include:
Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
Dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease
Traumatic brain injury
Infections, including brain abscess, meningitis, encephalitis, and AIDS
Brain problems that are present at birth (congenital brain defect)
Brain injury that occurs during or near bith
Metabolism disorders that a child may be born with (such as phenylketonuria)
Abnormal blood vessels in the brain
Other illness that damage or destroy brain tissue
Epilepsy may be due to a medical condition or injury that affects the brain, or the cause may be unknown
Epilepsy occurs when permanent changes in brain tissue cause the brain to be too excitable or jumpy. The brain sends out abnormal signals. This results in repeated, unpredictable seizures.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which a person has repeated seizures (convulsions) over time. Seizures are episodes of disturbed brain activity that cause changes in attention or behavior.