Epilepsy, also known as seizure disorder, is a neurological condition that affects the central nervous system. Epilepsy is often diagnosed after one has suffered at least two seizure episodes not associated with any known medical condition. These seizures usually occur when the electrical activity in your brain is disturbed.
Seizures are dangerous and require treatment. There are different types of epilepsy, including:
- Idiopathic Generalised Epilepsy – Generally appears during childhood and is often associated with a strong family history of epilepsy
- Idiopathic Partial Epilepsy – The mildest type of epilepsy begins in childhood and may be outgrown by puberty
- Symptomatic Generalised Epilepsy – Caused by brain damage during birth or inherited brain diseases
- Symptomatic Partial Epilepsy – Appears in adulthood, caused by localised brain abnormality
Only a minority of epilepsy cases have clear causes. The most common causes of epilepsy are associated with trauma or injury to the brain. These include brain damage at birth or from accidents during adolescence, brain tumours, brain infections such as meningitis and encephalitis, Scarring or “sclerosis” of brain tissue, and strokes. In addition, a strong family history of epilepsy increases the susceptibility to the disease.
Certain factors can also trigger seizures in people with epilepsy. These include forgetting to take seizure medications, heavy alcohol consumption, drug abuse (including Cocaine, Ecstasy), sleep deprivation (insomnia) and use of drugs that interfere with seizure medications.
Seizures are the most common warning signs of epilepsy. There are two main types of seizures:
- Focal Seizure – symptoms include:
- Disturbance to visual, sensory and motor abilities
- Loss of consciousness
- Generalised Seizures – symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing and incontinence
- Involuntary twitching of arms and legs (1 to 2 minutes)
- Loss of consciousness (30 seconds to 5 minutes)
- Tongue biting
Some people are born with hearing impairment (congenital) while many others may lose their hearing later in life (acquired). There are many degrees of hearing impairment. E.g. partial to complete hearing loss; one or both ears may be affected with one side worse than the other; gradual or sudden hearing loss etc.