Facts About Epilepsy
First, what it is not: It is not a disease. It´s a condition, a symptom of disturbed electrical activity in the brain. Our nervous system is essentially an electrical one, with impulses constantly shuttling between the billions of neurons (nerve cells) and the parts of the body involved in our various activities both voluntary (such as walking) and involuntary (such as breathing). If a person´s brain, with its 12 billion nerve cells, is damaged, some of these nerve cells may malfunction, causing the normally smooth-running pattern of electrical activity to be disrupted. The damaged cells “overload,” they become over-excited and give off too much electricity. The result of this temporary overload is a seizure that causes some of the body´s activities to go awry: there´s a sudden loss or disturbance of consciousness often in association with motor activity; there´s no pain associated with the seizure and usually no long-term after effects. In fact, many persons who have seizures, particularly one of the mild types, often are unaware they´ve had one. The number of seizures vary greatly from person to person – from a few a year to several a day. Those whose epilepsy is controlled by medical treatment may experience no seizures at all. Between seizures life goes on – normal, active and healthy.