Epilepsy is a brain disorder involving repeated, spontaneous seizures of any type. The seizures happen when clusters of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain send out the wrong signals. People may have strange sensations and emotions or behave strangely. They may have violent muscle spasms or lose consciousness. It is a condition in which people have epileptic attacks (seizures). It is one of the common neurological conditions, affecting 0.5-1% of the population. Epilepsy is not a single condition, but a group of conditions with differing causes, treatments and prognoses.
Epilepsy can be caused by by many different conditions that affect a person’s brain. Often no definite cause can be found. Epilepsy cannot be transmitted from person to person.
According to NIH (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke), “Doctors use brain scans and other tests to diagnose epilepsy. It is important to start treatment right away. There is no cure for epilepsy, but medicines can control seizures for most people. When medicines are not working well, surgery or implanted devices such as vagus nerve stimulators may help. Special diets can help some children with epilepsy.”
At present, most doctors would not diagnose a patient as epileptic if they had only suffered a single seizure. This is because epilepsy is defined as a condition in which patients have recurrent seizures. The brain is made up of a vast number of nerve cells (neurones) which communicate with each other through electrical signals. The interplay between these neurones has to be carefully regulated for the brain to function properly.
Epilepsy can start at any age, although it tends to first occur in children and the elderly.