Finding out that you have epilepsy of any sort is a difficult situation for anyone to deal with. What do you do? How is life going to change? What even is epilepsy? These are all questions that can come to mind.
This guide is going to help answer some of those questions and help you and your loved ones find a path that can help you discover your best route for health and living with an incurable disease.
What is Epilepsy?
To put it as simply as possible, epilepsy refers only to brain seizures. For some these seizures are larger and some are smaller. They can be life altering seizures or they can be minimal and affect life in very small ways compared to others.
Because epilepsy is such a broad term, there are so many different forms of seizures that fall underneath this category. This can make it even more difficult to understand what it is that you and your loved one is experiencing.
The definition of epilepsy is two or more seizures that happen at least 24 hours apart and either have a cause or an undetermined cause. This doesn’t mean that a doctor can’t help identify triggers, but some triggers are going to be harder to identify compared to others.
What Kinds of Seizures Are There?
First and foremost, most seizures are going to have some sort of identification and they are also going to have some sort of trigger. First, let’s go over the types of seizures there are. Alphabetically, there are a total of nine types of seizures.
Absence (Petit mal)
These are brief and include a momentary lack of awareness. Generally there is going to be immediate recovery.
A more severe form of seizure that causes muscle weakness or total loss of muscle control. Signs can vary from a lolling head to complete and total muscle loss and collapsing to the ground.
This is one of the harder seizure types to define for people who have cognitive development issues. Lip smacking, hand rubbing, some blinking and a blank stare can last up to 30 seconds or more with this kind of seizure.
Most often associated with vigorous, rhythmic jerking.
People are able to be fully aware and often causes a sense of deja vu, involuntary movements on one side of the body, or unexplained emotions.
Focal Impaired Awareness
Very broad type of seizure where the individual loses all awareness and cannot respond. Multiple types of behaviors can appear during this time.
Generalized Tonic-clonic (Grand mal)
Includes a loss of consciousness and physical, rhythmic jerking after muscles have become rigid.
Occurs usually on waking or sleeping with an arched body and grimace or surprised face. Can also have the result of stiffening and clustering. This happens within the first year of life.
Occurs with sudden jumps or movements that last a few seconds. The person is normally fully aware.
Body becomes completely stiff and generally happens during sleeping. May cause a person to fall over if it happens during the day.
What Can Daily Life Look Like?
This is where knowing what kinds of seizures you have is going to be very important. Those that keep awareness and don’t have many issues are usually able to lead a very normal life without many issues.
On the other hand, there are those who have to change many factors of their life in order to compensate for the epileptic episodes and seizures. Some have to incorporate new medications or even learn how to handle different types of reactions to treatment plans.
Because of how different each person’s experience is, it can be incredibly difficult to see how any day can go. For some people who have combined types of seizures, they may no longer be able to do activities that they enjoyed or drive themselves. For someone else, they may not be able to drive, but can still perform similar activities.
The best way to look at any guide to epilepsy is awareness of what is going on and what is causing seizures. When you have that awareness you can prevent as many triggers as possible while also helping your loved one live as normal of a life as possible.
Epilepsy is not a one size fits all type of disease. It comes with multiple variables, multiple triggers, endless treatment plans and more. Because there is so much variability it is hard to have any one guide but better to introduce yourself to as much information as possible.
Knowing what types of seizures there are can help you adjust accordingly to life and what you need to have on hand for a loved one. Staying up to date with your doctor is also extremely important and regular visits can help ensure your health and wellbeing.