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What is the Difference Between Seizures and Epilepsy?

What is the Difference Between Seizures and Epilepsy?

January 9, 2023
What is the Difference Between Seizures and Epilepsy?

What are Seizures?

A seizure is a medical condition that causes a temporary and unstoppable surge of electrical activity in your brain. The affected brain cells uncontrollably fire signals to others around them and overload the affected areas of your brain.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a central nervous system disorder in which brain activity becomes irregular. It causes seizures or periods of unusual behavior and sometimes loss of sensations or awareness. Note that anyone can develop this condition and it affects both males and females of all races, ages, and ethnicity.

What are the Differences Between Seizures and Epilepsy?

Seizures fall into two main categories depending on why they happen.

  1. Provoked seizures. It is triggered by other conditions or circumstances such as high fever, drug and alcohol withdrawal, and low blood sugar. 
  2. Unprovoked seizures. These are not caused or symptoms of a current medical condition or circumstance. This occurs when a person’s brain can more easily produce spontaneous seizures. This also includes seizures that happen more than seven days after a specific cause. 

Epilepsy is a brain condition that puts you at risk of having spontaneous, unprovoked seizures. You will be diagnosed with this condition if you have at least two unprovoked seizures, or you have a single unprovoked seizure and have a high risk of having at least one more in the next 10 years. Having a single unprovoked attack increases the odds of having another. 

Causes of Epilepsy

This condition has no certain cause in some people or half of the population with the condition. The other half are caused by the following factors:

  • Genetic factors. Some types of attacks, which are categorized by the type of seizure you experience or the part of the brain that is affected, run in families. However, genes are only part of the cause of epilepsy. Certain genes may make a person more sensitive to environmental conditions that trigger seizures.
  • Head trauma. It is typically caused by an injury such as a car accident that causes trauma in the brain that can trigger an attack.
  • Stroke and other vascular diseases. These conditions can lead to brain damage that may trigger an attack. Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce your risk of these diseases, including limiting your intake of alcohol and avoiding cigarettes, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.
  • Prenatal injury. Babies are sensitive to brain damage that could be caused by several factors, such as an infection in the mother, poor nutrition, or oxygen deficiencies. This brain damage can result in epilepsy or cerebral palsy.
  • Developmental disorders. Autism and other developmental disorder are also considered risk factors for certain attacks.
  • Brain irregularities. This includes brain tumors or vascular malformations such as arteriovenous malformations and cavernous malformations, which can cause epilepsy. 
  • Infections. Meningitis, viral encephalitis, HIV, and some parasitic infections can cause an attack

Treatment for Seizures in People With Epilepsy

Your doctor will generally treat epilepsy with medication. If medications don’t treat the condition, doctors may propose surgery or another type of treatment. Most people with epilepsy can become seizure-free by taking one anti-seizure or anti-epileptic medication. 

Medication Used for Seizures in People With Epilepsy

Lamotrigine. It is a prescription medication used to treat certain types of seizures in people with epilepsy. This drug may be used with other medicines to control seizures. It belongs to an anti-epileptic group of drugs that acts on the ion channels that occur in the brain. It decreases the series firing of the brain cells. For people with epilepsy, this medication works by reducing the substance called Glutamate. It lessens the seizures that you may experience.

Surgery is also another treatment option if prescriptions fail to control the attacks. It involves removing a part of the brain that is responsible for the seizure. For some types of epilepsy, minimally invasive approaches such as MRI-guided stereotactic laser ablation may provide effective treatment when an open procedure may be too risky.

Lifestyle and Homecare for Seizures in People With Epilepsy

  1. Take your medication properly. Avoid adjusting your dosage before talking to your doctor. If you feel your medication should be altered, discuss it with your doctor. Ensure that you finish the treatment course for successful management.
  2. Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can trigger seizures so ensure you get a proper sleep cycle every night.
  3. Exercise. Exercising may help keep you physically healthy and reduce depression. Make sure to drink enough water, and rest if you get tired during exercise.

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