Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by seizures. About a third of people with cerebral palsy also have some degree of epilepsy. It is believed that in people with both conditions, the etiology is related; that is, the same brain injury / disorder that causes cerebral palsy is most likely the cause of epilepsy. Although epilepsy cannot be cured, with proper medication, it can be controlled with the same degree of success in children with PC as in those who do not.
Healthcare professionals are reluctant to diagnose a person as having epilepsy until they have had more than one unprovoked seizure. In its simplest explanation, an epileptic seizure is the result of an overload of electronic signals to the brain that results in disruption of normal brain function. At varying degrees of severity, a seizure can lead to unconsciousness, convulsions, involuntary muscle spasms, memory loss, loss of attention, drowsiness, and / or emotional outbursts.
A seizure (or series of seizures) is classified as “symptomatic” if it has an identifiable cause such as brain injury, disease, or other abnormality. They are classified as “cryptogenic” (or “idiopathic seizures”) if there is no easily identifiable root cause. The doctor may look for a genetic predisposition to seizures.
If your child has had an event that you think may indicate a seizure, they should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. An electroencephalogram (EEG) can be done to scan and record your child’s brain waves, providing information that a neurologist can analyze for indications of epilepsy.
Seizures cannot be stopped once they have started. The most important thing to do if you are with someone who is in a crisis is to make sure that their environment is safe and comfortable. Do not try to keep them still or restrict their movement. Don’t put anything in their mouth. Instead, promptly move away from nearby furniture with sharp, hard edges or any other potential hazards that could harm a person experiencing uncontrollable movement. Wrap them with soft pillows and blankets for the episode itself and the recovery period that will follow.
As mentioned earlier, a single seizure isn’t necessarily a sign of a seizure disorder, but it is cause for concern. Your doctor should advise you on how to monitor your child’s seizure for a second seizure, including: time and duration, body parts affected, eye movements, bladder or bowel control, loss of consciousness, confusion and general appearance. You should also be aware that if your child is having trouble breathing, a seizure that lasts 10 minutes or more, a noticeable change in color (extreme pallor or blueness), or has repetitive seizures without recovery, you should call 911. without hesitation.
If he or she has determined that your child has a seizure disorder, he or she will likely be given medication to control future seizures. In extreme cases, surgery may be done to remove the area of the brain that produces the seizures or to interrupt the nerve pathways through which the seizure impulses travel to the brain.
There are also lifestyle choices that can be made to minimize the onset of seizures, such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and following a regular sleep schedule. The good news is that by following the advice of doctors and staying vigilant, epilepsy is also manageable in people. cerebral palsy as it is in those without.