Epilepsy – a quick guide

Epilepsy – a quick guide

What is epilepsy?


Epilepsy is a medical disorder characterised by recurrent seizures. These seizures, sometimes called ‘fits,’ may vary in severity and in which part of the body is affected, depending on the type of epilepsy.


What causes epilepsy?


Epilepsy results from abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Epilepsy tends to run in families, so genes influence the chance of getting it. Other people may get epilepsy after head trauma or other injuries to the brain.


What do people with epilepsy look like?


Adults and children with epilepsy look the same as everyone else most of the time, until they experience a seizure. A seizure can cause a person to suddenly become stiff and can make parts of their body jerk. The person may fall down and become unresponsive to instructions or questions. Partial seizures refer to convulsions that are caused by a certain part of the person’s brain, whereas generalised seizures affect both sides of the brain. The classic seizure that comes to mind when most people think of epilepsy is a generalised tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizure, which causes stiff and jerking muscles all over the body.


How is epilepsy treated?


Each time a person has a seizure, there is the potential for brain damage and neurological consequences, so doctors aim to control epilepsy strictly. There is no cure for epilepsy, and those with the condition usually require chronic medication to prevent seizures.


This information is this article is intended for general purposes only. If you have any concerns about your health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.