What is Epilepsy?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,001
    Dr. Edward Bertram gives an in-depth explanation as to what the condition epilepsy really is.

    Dr. Edward Bertram: Hi! I'm Dr. Edward Bertram for the International League Against Epilepsy. And today I'd like to talk to you about epilepsy. Epilepsy is a very common disorder of the brain when seizures happen again and again, usually without warning or clear cause. A seizure is a period of abnormal electrical activity in the brain and causes different symptoms depending on which parts of the brain are involved and the type of disturbance.

    The most common types of seizures are Grand Mal Convulsions, and Petit Mal, or Absence seizures. However, epileptic seizures can take on a variety of appearances. They may occur once a year or multiple times in a week. Epilepsy afflicts an estimated 3 million Americans and at least 50 million people worldwide. Although one seizure usually doesn't last more than a few minutes, the consequences may have a huge impact on a patient and their family.

    Living with epilepsy can be difficult, because of the stigma and embarrassment associated with seizures, patients may isolate themselves from social activity or the workplace. Employer's maybe reluctant to hire an applicant with epilepsy. Fearing a patient could have a seizure and damage the company's image or hold them viable for injury. Epilepsy is misunderstood throughout the world and abundant misperceptions can make it difficult for patients to find work or a spouse.

    Patients whose families choose to hide the problem end their patient's potential contribution to society. At present the treatment most commonly used only stop the seizures or reduce their severity. These include medications, diet, or surgery. For as many as one million Americans and many millions worldwide, seizures continue, often with significant side effects from the treatment and an increased risk of death or injury.

    Because the cause of the seizures remains, most patients still live in fear that a seizure may occur at an inopportune moment. At present we are working hard to develop better treatments for this devastating decease. One surgical procedure which removes the source of the seizure had has had good results in some patients. The International League Against Epilepsy is International Umbrella Organization for over 100 nationally Epilepsy Chapters and is made up of over 5000 professionals worldwide.

    The organization is dedicated to improving care of patients everywhere. Visit ilae.

    org for more information!