Epilepsy – Disorder of the Brain

 

Epilepsy is a disease in which a sudden seizure takes place in the brain. It happens when other actions interfere with normal brain activities.

Our brain is the control center in our body which relays messages and commands to other body parts. When this communication centre is disrupted or doesn’t work properly it causes disorders in the way we move or behave. Nerve cells communicate with each other through electrical particles. Millions of them travel through the brain. When there is a sudden outbreak of electricity in the brain a seizure takes place. When this happens people start shaking wildly and make uncontrollable movements. Sometimes they are not able to think clearly for a short time.

Seizures can last between half a minute and two minutes. Although these do not cause lasting damage to the brain a seizure that takes several minutes needs medical attention. In other cases, people do not realize when they have seizures. They just feel strange things in their legs or arms or may black out for a few seconds. Such seizures are called partial seizures.

Medical experts are not sure how seizures occur.  Possible reasons may be strokes or infections. Other doctors connect seizures to Alzheimer’s disease. Seizures may also be the result of brain damages that babies suffer at birth. A temporary lack of oxygen in the brain may also cause such disorders.


According to the World Health Organization there are about 50 million people around the world who suffer from epileptic seizures. Most of them occur in developing countries, because the population there suffers from many diseases that can lead to brain damage.

For a long time, people who suffered from epilepsy have been discriminated against in society. In some countries they are still banned from getting certain jobs or driving a car.


Today medicine is so advanced that special drugs can control seizures. However, there are so many different types of disorders that it is often hard to find the right medication. When medicine fails doctors may try to remove a part of the brain that causes these seizures.  Other operations include methods to block the spread of electrical currents over larger parts of the brains. In any case brain operations may cause problems and are altogether risky.

Some people try to control epilepsy buy changing their diet.  They eat food that is high in fats and low in carbohydrates so that the body is forced to burn more fat than sugar. About one third of patients who have tried such diets have become free of seizures.

How should outsiders react if they are confronted with a person who has a seizure?  The most important step is to stay with the person and make sure they do not harm themselves. After the seizure stops try to calm down the person and get more help.

 

 

Related Topics

Words

  • according to = as said by …
  • advanced = highly developed
  • although = while
  • Alzheimer’s disease = illness that affects the brain , especially of old people; it gets difficult to move, talk or remember things
  • ban = not allowed to have
  • behave = act
  • black out = pass out, become unconscious
  • block = stop
  • brain = organ inside your head that controls how you think, feel and move
  • carbohydrate = stuff that is in sugar, potatoes, bread; it gives your body heat and energy
  • cause = lead to
  • command = order, action
  • confront = face, meet
  • developing countries = the poor countries of Africa, Asia and South America
  • diet = the food that you eat regularly
  • discriminate against = to be treated in an unfair way
  • disease = illness
  • disorder = an illness that stops a part of your body from working the way it should
  • disrupt = when something stops working the way it should
  • electrical current = flow of electricity
  • electrical particle = very very small objects that have electricity in them
  • electricity = here; power, energy
  • free of = do not have any more
  • harm = hurt
  • however = but
  • in any case = whatever happens
  • include = also have
  • interfere = get in the way of
  • lack = not enough of
  • lasting = permanent
  • medical attention = here: to have a doctor examine something
  • medication = medicine
  • movement = the way you move
  • occur = happen
  • outbreak = eruption, outburst
  • outsider = here: a person who  is not involved
  • oxygen = gas that is the air and which we need to breathe
  • realize = feel, to be aware of
  • relay = pass on, transmit
  • seizure = if a person suddenly loses control of their movements; this situation can continue for a short time
  • society = people in general
  • spread = movement
  • sudden = unexpected, at once
  • suffer = go through
  • temporary = lasting a short time
  • World Health Organization = international organization which is part of the United Nations; it helps to improve the health of people in poor countries by giving them medicine and information about diseases