In accord with global statistics, epilepsy is a typical neurological disease affecting the nervous system of nearly 50 million people worldwide. Like most nervous-related diseases, epilepsy is a chronic abnormal disturbance that results in many discomforts, restricting the everyday lifestyle of both patients and their relatives.
However, seizures do not mean that a person has epilepsy. To this end, the specialized therapeutical experts should perform a primary diagnosis and treatment. A qualified therapeutical examination could find out the nature of seizures caused by external and internal reasons.
The detailed nerves-pathological investigations have detected the links between the various types of neurological disorders leading to epilepsy. Their conclusion regards the conjunction between epileptic and non-epileptic seizures. Hence, non-epileptic seizures could precede a progression of epilepsy; both seizures coexist quite well, and such seizures occur within the active state of diagnosed epilepsy disorder and even during its remission. The doctors have also noticed the frequent situations characteristic of epileptic seizures accompanied by panic attacks. The medical data prove that up to 20% of patients with epilepsy have panic attacks. The last ones, in turn, are conveyed by other forms of mental pathologies (depressions, anxious and somatic symptom disorders, alexithymia, agoraphobia, and so on), which drastically restrict the social activities of the patients. The similar nature of neurological disease based on feelings of psychic tension and depression determines the appropriate tests and therapy.
Symptoms of epileptic and non-epileptic seizures
According to the official medical definition, the seizures are considered deviations of the normal excitatory system operations making difficulties for sufferers, their families, and people around them.
To distinguish the distinct type of seizures is too hard without special medical education. However, all sorts of neurological disorders have similar reasons differed due to the age features:
- Diseases of infants and toddlers are caused by fever, discernible birth defects or developmental delays, congenital disabilities, and metabolic disorders;
- Idiopathic epileptic seizures are observed in children and teens;
- The reasons for the adults’ problems are brain injury, alcohol-related abstinence symptoms, brain tumors, apoplectic attacks, and undiagnosed illnesses,
- The seizures among aged people are the result of brain tumors and apoplectic attacks.
The triggers mentioned earlier lead to negative mental effects, which sooner or later reveal the real epileptic symptoms. Such symptoms become more substantial due to the disease duration and the lack of proper treatment. The key disconcerting signs are:
- temporary confusion,
- uncontrolled rapid arm and leg motions,
- mental abstraction or loss of a sense of actional occasions,
- psychiatric symptoms such as fear, anxiety, or deja vu.
The symptoms vary due to the kind of seizures. In most cases, an epilepsy-ill person will have the same type of seizures. Thus, the symptoms will repeat case-by-case.
Transitory diseases or stimulants provoke non-epileptic seizures; for instance, they can be metabolic disorders, CNS infections, heart diseases, harmful actions of drugs and their cessation, and psychogenic abnormalities. The fever in children could bring on effects connected with seizures, so-called febrile ones.
These seizures are almost similar to epileptic ones. They are characteristic of some more accessible clinical states amenable to remedy, including
- dystonia or muscle dystonic syndromes,
- myoclonic syndromes and a range of other hyperkinetic states,
- headaches, and
- autonomic disturbances.
Neurological seizures and panic attacks: what to do?
The symptoms of neurological seizures are based on the panic attack background (sensations of anxiety and fear, shortness of breath, argue, faintness, chest pain, etc.). Suppose they occur- you should immediately eliminate them. The very right decision is to call the consulting neurologist or 911.
However, patients and their other people should know the emergency aid rules in case of such situations. The patient has to bear in mind the following instructions:
- Always carry the identification bracelet indicating the types of seizures, respective medical products, and contact details of responsible persons.
- Let all your relatives, family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and other entrusted persons be informed of your disease and steps about what to do.
- Avoid potentially dangerous places and items, and try to keep calm in any stressful situations as well.
- Keep a diary inserting the information about seizures and attacks, their duration and frequency, and the possible initiating agents.
Before the ambulance arrives, the supporter should become the leading first aid provider for such patients who need to follow the particular directions:
- Put all dangerous items away from the patient’s space suffering from neurological seizures.
- Put a soft and flat item (cushion, plopped sweater, bag, etc.) under the head.
- Ease the cloth pressure on the neck, if possible, to avoid respiratory difficulties.
- Fix the patient’s position lying on the side. Try to keep this position until the seizures finish. However, do not do this forcefully to prevent accidental traumas.
- Detect the start time of seizures to determine their duration.
- Do not give any medical products, food, or drinks to the patients unless they calm down in general.
- Do not execute any first aid measures such as respiratory care or closed-chest massage.
- If you help the stranger, seek their documents or identification bracelet.
- Stand by the sufferer to check their complete recovery.
Particular examination of epileptic and non-epileptic sufferers
An ordinary person could not set a diagnosis of the fundamental nature of any seizures or attacks. The patient examination suspected of epilepsy comprises the following methods:
- complete medical history. The doctor investigates all symptoms, time durations, and preconditions of any seizures or attacks. The distinctive cue of epilepsy is the seizures that occur due to sharp sounds, bright and flashing lights. Particular attention should be given to hereditary background, treated traumas or illnesses, the patient’s lifestyle, and their bad habits;
- overall medical and neurologic-specific examination. It includes various tests for a comprehensive examination of the patient’s state and specific fact-findings made by specialized doctors (neurological surgeons, toxicologists, mental physicians, etc.). The last ones have to assess muscle strength, skin sensitivity, and evidence, symmetrical responses;
- EEG tests. The procedure refers to registering brain electrical activities able to detect the specific activation of the epileptic focal area. The doctor could try to provoke the hyper-alertness through flashing light or rhythmic sounds, if necessary;
- head MRI. This method helps find the pathological areas and some tumors, including sites of ischemia impact and consequences of the treated insult;
- head vessel angiography. It foresees to insert a contrast agent into the patient blood followed by an X-ray study and allow visibility of sites of vessel constriction and blood flow impairment;
- head scan. This medical examination is applied to babies and infants to visualize tumors and other space-occupying masses, fluid accumulation, etc.
- rheoencephalography. The respective equipment helps to measure the electrical resistance of head tissues, in which the specialized doctors can diagnose blood circulatory disturbance.
All these methods are available at our clinic to prevent the development of the more complicated states of our patients.