Epilepsy is the world's fourth most common neurological disorder after migraine, stroke and Alzheimer's disease which occur more frequently. Some statistics about the disease clearly show that it is a condition that needs global attention. About 180000 new cases are reported annually worldwide. In the United States statistics estimate that 48 out of every 100,000 people have this disorder. According to the World Health Organization over 50 million people worldwide have this disorder and a huge percentage of these people live in developing regions.
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder usually characterized by recurrent and unprovoked seizures (electrical instability in the brain of the victim) which range from mild attention lapses or jerks of the muscles and /or severe, prolonged convulsions. It is also characterized by seizures that range from undetectable to vigorous shaking. Due to these episodes of seizures that recur, people with the disease often suffer from physical injuries like broken bones. Others suffer burns when they fall undetected on a hot object or on fire.
The causes of epilepsy vary by the age of the person but about 50 percent of all people with this disorder, the cause is unknown (Orrin, p153). However, the disease can be caused by genes. The children whose parents are epileptic have very high likelihood to be epileptic since the same genes are the ones present in the child. The second cause of epilepsy is brain infection like cerebrovascular problems, brain tumors, and severe head injuries.
Steven (p25), says that any brain infection or sickness may trigger instability of electrical pulses is a huge threat and cause of epilepsy and seizures. About 30 percent of the world populations experience a change in the structural development of the brains and if unchecked, this change eventually leads to epilepsy in most cases. A common cause of epilepsy in mature women is the lack of adequate supply of oxygen during child birth. During this time the pain that a woman feels may be too much that the brain may not function properly since most hormones are working together to deal with the pain.. The oxygen supply should be boosted around the mother to help in proper circulation of food and nutrients into the brain. Severe shortage of oxygen initiates a series of reactions by the brain and the electrical imbalance may result (Longo, p69).
Another cause is abnormal levels of sodium and blood sugar. Many people with diabetes are likely to experience seizures which could be indicative of a more serious condition. Very low levels of blood glucose denies the much needed energy by the brain and any attack of the brain cells could be a very serious cause of epilepsy. The other common causes of the disease in newborns may include inborn errors of metabolism and maternal drug use during pregnancy and intracranial hemorrhage. In the elderly the causes will include stroke and trauma. (Steven, p453).
Epilepsy can be treated by the use of anticonvulsant drugs. The type of treatment offered a patient depends on the frequency of the seizures or how far the condition has progressed. The drugs usually try to restore the normal balance of electrical pulses in the brain (Patricia, p84). Epilepsy can also be treated using proper diet that increases the blood level in the body. From herbal medication to vitamins, the treatment can help with the condition. But they should be taken in less proportions since they are not the conventional medication (Simon, p30). In conclusion, anyone can get epilepsy. The major cause of the disease is attributed to factors that affect brain functioning. People should be informed the effect of the condition and that it has no known cure at the moment. Prevention is the most important weapon. People likely to get head injuries in the course of their work should take precautionary measures.
Longo, D. Seizure and Epilepsy: Principles of Internal Medication. New York.McGraw-Hill.2012.Print
Orrin, D. Alternative Therapies for Epilepsy. New York. West Books Publishing.2012.Print
Patricia, M. Treating Epilepsy Naturally: A Guide to Alternative and Adjunct Therapies. London. Oxford University Press.2007.Print.
Simon, FJ. Clinical Neurology (8th Ed). New York. McGraw-Hill.2008.Print.
Steven, S. Epilepsy 101: The Ultimate Guide for Patients and Families. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press.2009. Print.
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