Learn about the causes of Epilepsy & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Epilepsy within New Zealand.
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder causing an overload of electrical impulses in the brain. Epilepsy results in the sufferer experiencing seizures and a loss of consciousness. Infections, head injuries, brain tumours and problems with foetal development during pregnancy can lead to epilepsy. Associated words Brain, seizure, neurological, impulse, nerves, epileptic, unconscious
Causes of epilepsy
Epilepsy is a symptom of a brain condition and not a condition in
itself. There are a number of causes for epilepsy such as damage to the
brain, strokes, brain tumours and cerebral palsy.
One third of epilepsy cases have no known cause and are referred to as 'idiopathic epilepsy'. Any damage to the brain disrupts the function of electrical impulses and neurotransmitter chemicals which can lead to seizures.
Other causes of epilepsy include:
Symptoms of epilepsy
Repeated seizures are the main symptom of epilepsy and these are
classified by how much of the brain is affected. 'Partial seizures'
affect only a small part of the brain while 'Generalised seizures'
affect all or most of the brain.
Partial seizures are grouped into two types: 'simple partial seizure' and 'complex partial seizure'. When a simple partial seizure occurs the person remains conscious whereas a complex partial seizure causes partial unconsciousness or complete loss of consciousness with no memory of the event.
Simple partial seizure symptoms include:
Acting on these auras gives the person time to alert others that a seizure is about to happen or gives them time to move into a safe position so as not to harm themselves. However, it will not prevent the seizure occurring
Diagnosis of epilepsy
There are many conditions which can cause a seizure and so epilepsy is
a difficult condition to diagnose. In the first instance you should
contact your GP who will then refer you to a neurology specialist.
As some seizures leave someone with no memory of what has just happened, answering questions about the symptoms experienced can prove difficult. If possible you may need to take someone with you who has seen the seizure occur and can describe what they saw.
The neuro-specialist will use two tests to determine the cause of your epilepsy and rule out any other serious underlying problems. The two test they will use are an Electroencephalogram (EEG) and a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan.
The first test (EEG) measures electrical activity in the brain and may involve using flashing lights. An MRI scan determines if there are any structural defects in the brain or if a brain tumour is present.