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Epilepsy or Seizure Disorder

Epilepsy is a blanket term for a seizure disorder. A seizure can be 
defined as periods of excessive  electrical activity in the brain
that affect the entire nervous system.  During a seizure, a
person loses all control of body function and movement.  The person
is unaware of their surroundings is unable to remember the events 
during the seizure and the period immediately following.

There are two major classifications of seizures and many subclasses.
Grand Mal Seizures are the most well-known type of seizure.  A typical
grand mal involves an uncontrollable jerking of the entire body.  The 
seizure can last from a few seconds to several minutes.  This sort of 
seizure is very frightening to observe.  If a person is having a gran
mal seizure, observers should move objects out of the seizing person's
immediate area.  Do not attempt to restrain the person, and do not 
attempt to put something in their mouth.  Observers should also 
attempt to time the length of the seizure, if possible.  It is also 
helpful to note if the patient had lost bladder control or obtained
injury during the seizure.

Petit Mal seizures(absence seizures)are much less dramatic, as a
matter of fact, they may go entirely unnoticed by observers or the 
Person experiencing the seizure.  During the seizure, the afflicted
person will probably just appear to be "daydreaming".  Again, he is
unaware of his surroundings and unable to controll his body.  

Many people with seizure disorders experience a phenemonon called 
an aura.  An aura can be a smell or a headache or just "a funny 
feeling" in the minutes or seconds preceding the seizure. Most people
don't recognize their aura until after they have experienced
more than one seizure.  Auras are a helpful warning sign that may 
give the patient adequate time to find a safe place and to warn 

Some seizures are isolated events, some are a life long disorder.
Fortunately, most seizures can be controlled with medications.
A patient with a seizure disorder must understand that he must
adhere faithfully to his medication regime, as well as periodic
blood testing and visits with his doctor.  

People with seizure disorders can live a long, healthy, normal life
if they work closely with their doctor.


Great Sites to find more info on Epilepsy.

What is Epilepsy?: a good basic description of what epilepsy is.
Epilepsy Education: How to teach others about Epilepsy
The Epilepsy Society of North West Florida: support, education, and help for those that have Epilepsy.
Drug Treatmant of Epilepsy: A pretty advanced site explaining antiseizure medications.
Epilepsy in Young Children: Information geared toward children with seizures.
Epilepsy Connections.: A great Page, and a fellow "Best of Medical Pod" winner.

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