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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 140,000 new cases are diagnosed annually. Epilepsy, also known as seizure disorder, is a neurological condition that is believed to affect several million Americans.
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When neurons in the brain misfire, the resulting burst of electricity causes a seizure. They can be limited to one small portion of the brain; start in a specific region, but then spread to the rest of the brain; or they can affect the entire brain all at once, with no real starting point. Seizures are classified by how widespread they are.
Humanity has known about epilepsy for thousands of years, but it has often been misunderstood, even thought to be demonic possession or divine retribution.
Some of the types of epilepsy include:
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Having epilepsy means the seizures happen repeatedly over time. It is possible for a person to have a seizure but not have epilepsy if it is a unique event. The symptoms of a seizure can vary widely, but some of the effects can include physical convulsions, atypical behavior and loss of consciousness.
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People who have a history of epilepsy in their family are more likely to develop epilepsy than those who do not have such a history. Epilepsy can be caused by injuries, infections, or diseases that damage the brain, but can also appear without such damage. There appears to be genetic factors involved as well.
When it does not, it can often be successfully treated in a variety of ways that allow someone who has the disorder to minimize its effect. There is no cure for epilepsy, but it can go away on its own. Epilepsy is more likely to appear when someone is very young or very old, though it can appear in all age groups.
Greek researchers around the time of Alexander the Great were among the first to begin trying to adequay define the disorder, and some of them held to the theory (proven correct centuries later) that it was a condition of the brain. Even so, effective understanding and treatment would not come until the 18,th 19,th and 20th centuries.
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These cells communicate information by sending electrical impulses to each other. Information travels to and from the brain via networks of specialized cells called neurons. Some parts handle the senses, while others assist with memory and emotion, while still others help us move physically. Each part of the brain is responsible for specific functions.
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The brain interprets these messages and sends instructions to the body back down the nerves. To understand epilepsy requires an idea of how the brain functions. The brain is the center of the body's guidance network (the nervous system). The brain provides the majority of the instructions that allow us to move, breathe, and interact with each other and the world around us. These instructions are based on information sent from nerves all over the body to the brain.
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Epilepsy is a disorder of the central nervous system that cause seizures. Its effects can be felt throughout the body and cause a great deal of emotional pain.
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See a list of the possible causes ». Epilepsy is the result of an underlying problem.
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These malfunctions cause episodes called seizures. Epilepsy is the result of malfunctioning brain cells.
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See what you can say ». By talking about it with your family, friends, and coworkers, you can clear up misconceptions.
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