Understanding Epilepsy: 5 Things You Need to Know

by Emma Sturgis
Epilepsy is an often-mentioned, though frequently misunderstood, condition covering many types of seizure-based ailments. The following are five things you need to know about epilepsy, especially if you have a loved one or acquaintance who has been diagnosed with the condition.
Not All Seizures Are Caused By Epilepsy
Seizures are not a disease, but rather symptoms that something is terribly wrong in the body. Other causes of seizures include a bad reaction to medications, a sudden drop in blood sugar (insulin) or brain tumors. It’s very important for anyone suffering from a seizure to receive medical attention immediately, especially if this is the person’s first seizure.
Not All Epileptic Seizures Are Grand Mal Convulsions
Many people are familiar with the dramatic, full-body seizures shown in movies and television. However, there are many different types of seizures. Patients can remain conscious during attacks. Seizures can range from a small repetitious movement like nodding of the head to falling down unconscious. Seizures may also manifest with changes to mood, memory, motor skills and personality. With all types of seizures, the patient cannot control when they come or go.
Over-the-Counter Drugs and Epilepsy Don’t Mix
Epileptics need to make many changes in their lives in order to reduce their chances of seizures. However, some may not realize that many over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can often trigger seizures. One of the most common decongestants available, diphenhydramine, may trigger dangerous seizures in epileptics. According to a specialist from Courtagen Life Sciences, epileptics need to let their doctors know all of the medicines they are taking—even over-the-counter ones, vitamins and herbal supplements.
First Aid for Seizures
Seizures are terrifying not only to the people suffering from them but also to loved ones watching. There are many things you can do to help a person suffering from seizures. Darken any bright lights and move any furniture or any other objects out of the person’s way. If possible, turn the person over onto their side to help prevent choking. Despite popular belief, seizures will not cause a person to swallow his or her own tongue. If a seizure lasts more than five minutes, dial 911.
Causes of Epilepsy Are Still Mysterious
Doctors have been writing about epilepsy since the Babylonian civilization hit its peak thousands of years ago. Although we know that seizures are symptomatic of an underlying medical condition, we are still unsure of the causes for many patients suffering with epilepsy. Knowing what seizures are and how to handle them is the best way to assist those who suffer from epilepsy.
Source: http://contributors.healthline.com/mind/understanding-epilepsy-5-things-you-need-know

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