Essay on Epilepsy: The Misunderstood Disorder
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Epilepsy is a condition in which a person has two or more seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. Epilepsy is one of the oldest conditions of the human race. Epilepsy Awareness is important because Epilepsy is a widely misunderstood disorder. The reason that Epilepsy has been misunderstood has been mainly due to research not being conducted until the middle of the nineteenth century. There are six main types of seizures and many treatments that can assist an epileptic patient. Many facts and myths exist about a person who has Epilepsy, which, is why it is an important disorder to understand. A person living with Epilepsy can typically have a normal life after seeking medical advice from doctors. Epilepsy has…show more content…
It would be many decades later before the medical field would fully understand what Epilepsy was. Even as late as the 1920’s marriage and children was illegal in some states for Epileptic patients. In the states where this was illegal, the states forced these patients to undergo sterilization surgery. Today, over 6.5 million people have Epilepsy and it is the fourth most common neurological disorder. Many historical and modern day figures have had Epilepsy. Some classical writers that had Epilepsy were Dante who wrote “The Devine Comedy”, Sir Walter Scott who wrote “The Waverly”, Jonathan Swift who wrote “Gullivan’s Travel”, Edgar Allen Poe who wrote “The Raven” and Charles Dickens who wrote “Oliver Twist” and “A Christmas Carol” (Schachter). Some of the most famous composers that had Epilepsy were Beethoven, Peter Tchaikovsky, Niccolo Paganini, and George Frederick Handel (Schachter). There has also been some very famous world leaders such as Alexander the great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Harriet Tubman (Schachter). Some of the Religious leaders were Saint Paul (also known as Paul the Apostle), Joan of Arc, and Soren Kierkegaard (Schachter). In Modern times, some of the most well known celebrities that have had Epilepsy was Lil Wayne, Danny Glover, Margaux Hemingway, Michael Wilding, Richard Burton,
Epilepsy is a condition characterized by recurrent seizures which are unprovoked by any immediately identifiable cause (Hopkins & Shorvon, 1995). It is also known as a seizure disorder. A wide range of links and risk factors are associated with the condition, but most of the time the cause is unknown. Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders, affecting approximately two and half million people in the US and about 50 million worldwide. Though seizures can occur at any age, epilepsy is most commonly seen in children and the elderly. Most respond well to treatment and can control their seizures, but for some it is a chronic illness. A clinical diagnosis is the first step to finding a potential cure for the disorder.
The diagnosis of epilepsy is usually made after the patient experiences a second unprovoked seizure (Leppik, 2002). Diagnosis is often difficult, however, since it is unlikely that the physician will actually see the patient experience and epileptic seizure, and therefore must rely heavily on patient’s history. An electroencephalography (EEG) is often used to examine the patient’s brain waves, and some forms of epilepsy can be revealed by a characteristic disturbance in electrical frequency (Bassick, 1993). The variations in frequency can take form as spikes or sharp waves (Fisher, 1995). The variations are divided into two groups, ictal electrograph abnormalities, which are disturbances resulting from seizure activity, and interictal electrograph abnormalities, or disturbances between seizures. The EEG can also give clues as to which region of the brain the disturbances arise from. Interictal temporal spikes will predict the side of seizure origin in 95% of patients if three times as many spikes appear in one temporal lobe as the other (Blume, 2002). A sleep EEG is also often done to examine the patient’s slow wave activity. Localized abnormal slow activity suggests a structural or vascular lesion in the brain, while localized absence of normal slow activity indicates underlying damage or atrophy (Fisher, 1995).
While an EEG is helpful in the determination of epilepsy type or cause it also shows much variation between patients and types. An EEG examination can show no abnormal activity in patients with some epilepsies and can also demonstrate apparent epileptic activity in patients with no history of the condition. Additional EEGs will not detect additional abnormalities. Spatial and temporal sampling limitations are often the cause of an unhelpful study of an epileptic patent (Fisher, 1995). Another problem with EEGs exists within its need for interpretation. Discrepancy often exists pertaining to which disturbances are considered significant. Imaging techniques are often used in addition to the EEG to help determine causation.
Several imaging methods are used to diagnose a patient with epilepsy. The objective of imaging in epilepsy is to identify a cause, through the identification of...
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