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Epilepsy - Symptoms & Causes

Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It's characterised by recurrent seizures, which are brief episodes of involuntary movement, abnormal sensations, or altered consciousness. Seizures can vary greatly from person to person, and some people may also experience changes in mood or behaviour before or after a seizure.

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Epilepsy Symptoms

Epilepsy is generally characterised by seizures. A seizure is a brief and temporary disruption of normal brain functions caused by a sudden surge of electrical activities in the brain. Seizures affect people in different ways, depending on which part of the brain is affected and the type of seizure and its intensity.

Common symptoms and warning signs of epileptic seizures include:

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Jerking of the arms and legs

  • Spasms, stiffness, or tingling sensation in certain muscles

  • Rapid eye movement and blinking

  • Blank staring spell

  • Uncontrolled head nodding/shaking

  • Confusion

  • Breathing problems

  • Unusual smells or tastes

  • Loss of bowel or bladder control

  • Feelings of anxiety, fear, or déjà vu


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What Causes Epilepsy

About half of all epilepsy cases have no identifiable cause. The other half can be traced to various factors, such as.

Genetics

Some types of epilepsy are linked to certain genetic traits, both acquired and hereditary.

Brain injury

Traumatic or physiological brain injuries can lead to the onset of epileptic seizures.

Infections

TORCHes (toxoplasmosis, rubella cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex, and HIV), neurocysticercosis, cerebral malaria, and meningitis can cause epilepsy.

Conditions in the brain

Structural or blood circulation abnormalities in the brain can trigger seizures.

Brain tumours

Tumours in the brain, either cancerous or benign, can be a source of epileptic seizures.

Developmental disorders

People with developmental conditions such as autism and ADHD are more likely to develop epilepsy.

Congenital issues

If a baby develops brain malformations, gets starved of oxygen, or sustains a brain injury during birth, they may develop childhood epilepsy.

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