The Central Nervous System (CNS) controls the coordination of electrical impulses in the entire body. Electrical impulses are simply chemical signals relayed between the CNS and the entire body via nerve cells with regard to the body’s biochemistry. The brain as an organ constitutes the CNS. Most of the electrical impulses relayed by the CNS to various body organs are manifested by the body’s endocrinology where the effect is either an increase or decrease in the release of particular hormones hence chemical signals. Any interruption in the brain is thus bound to affect the entire body system.
Normally when electrical signals in the brain are interrupted, one gets a seizure depending on the triggering factor. Repeated seizures result into a disease condition called epilepsy. This paper highlights the definition, causes, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and the effects of epileptics in the society. Epilepsy is thus a disorder of the nervous system that occurs as a result of overactive electrical discharges the brain. This misfire in the brain causes a communication crash between nerve cells. Epilepsy is evident in the form of seizures but not all seizures are termed epileptic.
Epilepsy is only pronounced in the case of recurrent seizures since they are other seizures that are not epileptic (Goodman M. D) A large population in the USA suffers from epilepsy with an estimated 2. 5 million known cases. In the event of an epileptic seizure, a person is bound to loose consciousness and become unaware of what is happening. This may be coupled with uncontrolled movements that are usually not under the control of the will. The movements may range from jerking of body parts, unusual feelings like fear with the person looking tired, weak and confused after the seizure where some may fall into deep sleep.
Sometimes epileptic seizures may involve severe convulsions with the victim dropping on the ground, foaming at the mouth and very violent shaking. Epileptic seizures may last for minutes or at times seconds (Leppik, X111). Epilepsy is not contagious, many causes have been associated with epilepsy and they range from brain injuries in the event of accidents, disease conditions known to affect the brain that may include; meningitis ,encephalitis, brain tumors and strokes.
Conditions known to impair with the proper development of the brain in the fetus during pregnancy can result in epilepsy at some stage in life as well as oxygen insuffiency during pregnancy. Other conditions that may trigger epilepsy include alcohol poisoning alongside other forms of poisoning with harmful substances such as Lead. Studies indicate a genetic predisposition among members of a family with relation to epilepsy though the pattern of inheritance is not as clear as in the case of X-linked or sex linked inheritances related to most of genetic diseases (Goodman MD).
Seizures vary in degree of frequency of occurrence and impact on the body system, two types of seizures have been identified ;partial seizures that are restricted to only one part of the brain and generalized seizures that affect the entire brain. Since not all seizures are epileptic diagnosis can only be done by neurologist to confirm epilepsy. Neurologists rely on physical observation of the patient alongside a medical history of the condition.
Since it may not be possible for most epileptics to recall what happens prior and after the attack, it’s recommended that medical history be backed up by a close observer at the time of the attack. Various tests can be done to ascertain epilepsy that include among others; electroencephalogram (EEG) that measures the brain’s electrical activity, other painless tests may entail Computerized Tomography (CT) scans and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Treatment on diagnosis involves medication meant to control seizures for one to lead a normal life. Other modes of treatment may involve the installation of nerve stimulators in the brain.
A device called a vagus is inserted in the brain and it then sends signals through the vagus nerve in the neck region to control seizures. For conditions that may not respond to medicines especially among adults surgery may be done. Alternatively recommended for therapy especially in children is the administration of a ketogenic diet. This is a type of diet rich in fats and proteins but with very minimal carbohydrates. The effectiveness of which is thought to mimick the condition of starvation where the body burns its fats and protein reserves to yield energy.
The effect of a ketogenic diet in kids is based on the fact that fats and proteins on metabolism yield enormous amounts of glucose that may ensure an adequate supply to the brain since a drop in blood glucose has been associated with seizures as well. Other than the high yield of energy compared to carbohydrates, the metabolism of fats and proteins produces ketone bodies. These ketone bodies reach the brain as well while circulating in blood and they are known to have an anticonvulsant effect in prevention of seizures (Rhodes, 78).