Epilepsy is a chronic disorder that causes unprovoked, recurrent seizures. A seizure is a sudden rush of electrical activity in the brain.
There are two main types of seizures. Generalized seizures affect the whole brain. Focal, or partial seizures, affect just one part of the brain.
A mild seizure may be difficult to recognize. It can last a few seconds during which you lack awareness.
Stronger seizures can cause spasms and uncontrollable muscle twitches, and can last a few seconds to several minutes. During a stronger seizure, some people become confused or lose consciousness. Afterward you may have no memory of it happening.
There are several reasons you might have a seizure. These include:
very low blood sugar
Most people can manage epilepsy. Your treatment plan will be based on severity of symptoms, your health, and how well you respond to therapy.
Some treatment options include:
Anti-epileptic (anticonvulsant, antiseizure) drugs: These medications can reduce the number of seizures you have. In some people, they eliminate seizures. To be effective, the medication must be taken exactly as prescribed.
Vagus nerve stimulator: This device is surgically placed under the skin on the chest and electrically stimulates the nerve that runs through your neck. This can help prevent seizures.
Ketogenic diet: More than half of people who don’t respond to medication benefit from this high fat, low carbohydrate diet.
Brain surgery: The area of the brain that causes seizure activity can be removed or altered.
Research into new treatments is ongoing. One treatment that may be available in the future is deep brain stimulation. It’s a procedure in which electrodes are implanted into your brain. Then a generator is implanted in your chest. The generator sends electrical impulses to the brain to help decrease seizures.