09.06.2021 – 18:40
Epilepsy is a condition that causes seizures – temporary abnormalities in the electrical activity of the brain. These electrical outages can cause a variety of symptoms. Some people stare into space, some make jerky movements, while others lose consciousness.
Doctors do not know what causes epilepsy. Genes, brain conditions like tumors or strokes, and head injuries can be involved in some cases. Because epilepsy is a brain disorder, it can affect many different systems throughout the body.
Epilepsy can stem from changes in brain development, electrical connections or chemicals. Doctors do not know exactly what causes it, but it can start after an illness or brain damage. The disease disrupts the activity of brain cells called neurons, which normally transmit messages in the form of electrical impulses. An interruption in these impulses leads to crises.
There are many different types of epilepsy, and many different types of seizures. Some crises are harmless and barely noticeable. Others can be life threatening. Since epilepsy disrupts brain activity, its effects can affect almost any part of the body.
* Cardiovascular systems
Crises can disrupt the normal rhythm of the heart, causing the heart to beat very slowly, very fast, or irregularly. This is called an arrhythmia. An irregular heartbeat can be very serious, and potentially life-threatening. Experts believe that some cases of sudden death in epilepsy (SUDEP) are caused by a disruption in heart rate.
Problems with blood vessels in the brain can cause epilepsy. The brain needs oxygen-rich blood to function properly. Damage to the blood vessels of the brain, such as from a stroke or hemorrhage, can cause seizures.
* Reproductive system
Although most people with epilepsy are able to have children, the condition causes hormonal changes that can interfere with reproduction in both men and women. Reproductive problems are two to three times more common in people with epilepsy than in those without the disorder.
Epilepsy can disrupt a woman’s menstrual cycle by making irregular periods or interrupting them altogether. Polycystic ovary disease (PCOD) – a common cause of infertility – is more common in women with epilepsy. Epilepsy, and its medications, can also reduce a woman’s sexual drive.
About 40 percent of men with epilepsy have low levels of testosterone, the hormone responsible for sexual arousal. Epilepsy medications can also affect.
The condition can also have an effect on pregnancy. Some women experience more seizures while pregnant. Following a crisis can increase the risk of falling, as well as miscarriage and premature birth. Epilepsy medications can prevent seizures, but some of these medications have been linked to an increased risk for birth defects during pregnancy.
* Respiratory system
The autonomic nervous system regulates body functions such as respiration. Crises can disrupt this system, causing breathing to stop temporarily. Interruptions in breathing during crises can lead to abnormally low oxygen levels and can contribute to sudden death in epilepsy (SUDEP).
Epilepsy is a disorder of the central nervous system, which sends messages to and from the brain and spinal cord to direct the body’s activities. Interruptions in electrical activity in the central nervous system create seizures. Epilepsy can affect nervous system functions that are voluntary (under your control) and involuntary (not under your control).
The autonomic nervous system regulates functions that are not under your control – such as breathing, heart rate and digestion. Seizures can cause symptoms of the autonomic nervous system such as:
slow, fast or irregular heartbeat
pause in breathing
loss of consciousness
* Muscular system
The muscles that enable you to walk, jump and lift things are under the control of the nervous system. During some types of seizures, the muscles may become either more awkward than usual.
Tonic seizures cause muscles to inadvertently tighten, jump, and vibrate.
Atonic seizures cause an immediate loss of muscle tone.
* Skeletal system
Epilepsy itself does not affect the bones, but the medications you take to manage it can weaken the bones. Bone loss can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk for fractures – especially if you fall while having a seizure.
*The digestive system
Crises can affect the movement of food through the digestive system, causing symptoms such as:
nausea and vomiting
pause in breathing
loss of bowel control
Epilepsy can have ripple effects on almost any system in the body. Crises – and the fear of having them – can also cause emotional symptoms such as fear and anxiety. Medication and surgery can control seizures, but you will get the best results if you start taking them as soon as possible after you are diagnosed.