EPILEPSY AND MYTHOLOGY SERIES 2; TYPES OF EPILEPSY AND WAY FORWARD.

 


In our last episode of mythology and epilepsy, we gave the view of culture and science and we also dabbled into the medical meaning of seizure. Today, we shall continue to dig deep as knowledge is a key to knowing edges of concepts. Epilepsy may be divided into the following

TONIC-CLONIC OR MAJOR EPILEPSY

This is also called Grand Mal epilepsy. It sounds like a grandma, right? Yes, it is indeed the grandma, you know why? Because it is a type characterized by extreme neuronal discharges in all parts of the brain (cerebral cortex, deeper part of the cerebrum, brain stem) and can be transmitted to the spinal cord. The manifestation of this is that the person or patient of such seizure falls to the ground unconscious with the muscles in a state of spasm. Often, the person bites or swallows his or her tongue and may have difficulty in breathing and can cause urination and defecation. The manifestations can last from a few seconds to 3-4 minutes. It is the type that most people really call epilepsy. In fact! It is usually followed by depression and headache (post-seizure depression and head ache)   

It should be noted here that epilepsy may have a hereditary undertone. Other triggers may be alkalosis (caused by over-breathing), drugs, fever, strong emotional stimuli, cacophonies, and light flashes. Recurrent hypoglycemia can also be a trigger.

PETIT MAL EPILEPSY

Having heard about grand mal epilepsy (grandma), you will be thinking there should be grandpa epilepsy right? I remember meeting a young patient of this type of epilepsy then, who was at that time a politician of respectable class he told my boss then and I was lucky to be there that, he had been having recurrences of this type of epilepsy. But the mistake he made then was that he didn’t come to the hospital on time, instead, he was advised to visit spiritual homes, but all to no avail. This type of epilepsy involves a part of the brain called the thalamocortical brain activating system. It is usually characterized by 3 to 30 seconds of unconsciousness and during that period. Such a patient of such has twitch-like contractions of muscle and usually in the head region especially blinking of the eyes, this will then be followed by the return of consciousness and resumption of previous activities. The distinction of this is that patient may have one such attack in many months, occurring often. It usually appears in late childhood and then disappears by around age 30. If not properly treated, it may initiate a grand mal attack.

FOCAL EPILEPSY

This may involve any local part of the brain either localized regions of the cerebral cortex or the deeper structure of both the cerebrum and brain stem. Focal epilepsy may be a result of scar tissue in the brain, a tumor (mass of abnormal cells) in a part of the brain, or a factor of congenital (at birth) derangement. Focal epilepsy can be of different subtypes but time and space will not make us dabble into that

With this understanding, it should have occurred to you that epilepsy, through examination and various test procedures can be diagnosed. Electroencephalography is a major test procedure that involves getting, recording and interpretation the activities of the brain represented in a wave-like form. Different wave types are linked to various kinds of epilepsy

Is there treatment for epilepsy? Yes, there is treatment. Drugs are available at certified doctor’s prescription and if possible surgical procedures may be performed on patients with focal epilepsy.

In case you have one (friends, relatives, or neighbor) with one or more of the signs and symptoms highlighted, please waste no time to take such person to the hospital even if you will still intensify prayer. 

This piece is written to enlighten our people against some cultural believes which may not be totally right.

 Written by: Oluwafunmbi Ogunmiluyi.

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