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Epilepsy - Overview

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What Is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy or seizure disorder is a condition that affects the brain, causing unprovoked recurring seizures. This is one of the most common neurological disorders in the world. Approximately 600,000 (1 in 100) people in the UK live with epilepsy.

There are several types of epilepsy, most of which have unknown causes. While epilepsy is usually a lifelong condition, you can still lead a normal, healthy life if diagnosed early and treated appropriately. Up to 70% of people with epilepsy could live seizure-free if their conditions were diagnosed and treated properly.

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Book an appointment in our London clinic for a quick checkup if you’ve recently had an unprovoked seizure. If you have epilepsy, our expert neurologists will design a holistic epilepsy treatment plan based on the nature of your seizures. We specialise in highly personalised epilepsy diagnosis and treatment in London, giving our patients control and freedom from epileptic seizures.

Types of Epileptic Seizures

There are four main types of epileptic seizures, categorised by how they affect the brain and their causes:

Focal Seizures

Focal onset or partial seizures start in a specific part of the brain. Most focal seizures only affect the area of the brain where they originate, but some can turn into generalised seizures and spread throughout the brain.

Seizures can be so mild that the person doesn’t realise they’ve had a seizure at all. Such seizures are called focal impaired awareness seizures (formally known as complex partial seizures) and often go undiagnosed. Focal onset aware seizures, on the other hand, occur when a person is awake and aware of the experience.

Focal seizures are further broken down into smaller subtypes depending on the area of the brain they affect or originate from. These subtypes include:

Temporal lobe seizures


Temporal lobe seizures  Cause automatisms and unexplained emotions such as fear and anxiety

Occipital lobe seizures


Аffect visual perception, causing hallucinations and flickering or distorted vision

Parietal lobe seizures


А rare form of epilepsy characterised by sensory disturbances such as numbness, spatial distortions, weakness, tingling, etc

Frontal lobe seizures


Cause uncontrolled body movements and postures, abnormal behaviour, and head or eyes to turn to one side

Generalised Seizures

Generalised seizures start with a widespread burst of electrical discharge in one or both hemispheres of the brain. Seizures arising from both sides of the brain simultaneously occur in a type of epilepsy called primary or idiopathic generalised epilepsy.

The main types of generalised seizures are


Generalised tonic-clonic seizures


Occur on both sides of the brain, causing the body to stiffen (tonic phase) and convulse (clonic phase)

Absence seizures


Characterised by brief periods of “blacking out” (staring unresponsively out into space)


Myoclonic seizures


Cause rapid muscle jerks of various body parts

Atonic seizures


Mostly affect muscle control in the legs, causing the person to suddenly fall to the ground

Reflex Epilepsy

Flashing or flickering lights

Stress

Specific foods or medications

Certain illnesses and medications

Drug and alcohol use or withdrawal

Hormonal changes

Nutritional deficiencies

Sleep deprivation

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Progressive Myoclonic Epilepsy

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Progressive myoclonic epilepsy is a group of 10 rare types of epilepsies that worsen with time. It results from neurological disorders such as mitochondrial encephalopathy and neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis. People with progressive myoclonic epilepsy present with a combination of myoclonic and tonic-clonic seizure symptoms.

Unknown Onset Seizures

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Doctors and neurologists use the term “unknown onset seizure” to describe a seizure whose origin is unknown or unclear. Such a seizure usually happens when the person is asleep or with no one to witness it.

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London International Patient Services Limited.

Solar House,

282 Chase Road, London,

United Kingdom, N14 6NZ

Company number: 10111760.

Registered in England and Wales.

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Based in London, United Kingdom

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