What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a common neurological (brain) disorder and affects people in every country throughout the world. The condition encompasses a range of functional disorders of the brain, the common characteristic of which is a series of repetitive seizures.
Epilepsy is basically defined as the tendency to have recurrent seizures i.e. where someone has been medically diagnosed as having two or more “seizures.” A seizure is caused by abnormal excessive electric discharges leading to a sudden burst of excess electrical activity in the brain, causing a temporary disruption in the normal message passing between brain cells. This disruption results in the brain’s messages becoming halted or mixed up.
In Hong Kong, around 60,000-70,000 people have epilepsy, with almost 50 million around the world having this disorder.
What Causes Epilepsy?
Epilepsy can develop in anyone at any age! Some of the known causes of epilepsy include:
- Infants that may be born with defects in the structure of the brain
- Brain damage during birth due to birth trauma, lack of oxygen or infection
- Infectious diseases such as meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain and the spinal fluid), encephalitis (infection of the brain), and other malarial and tuberculous infections
- Benign or malignant tumours
- Scarred brain tissue resulting from a severe head injury or trauma
- Genetic conditions such as tuberous sclerosis that might cause non-malignant brain tumors
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Consumption of food infested with tapeworm eggs (cysticercosis) is a cause of epilepsy in some parts of Asia
- In many cases, there is no known cause as to why a person has epilepsy. In this case, the person has ‘idiopathic’ epilepsy
EPILEPSY is Not a Disease!
People with Epilepsy are not