Epilepsy (as folklore is called epileptic seizures) is a disease that is ravaging about 1 million people in Vietnam. The disease is not difficult to cure, but it is necessary to be properly diagnosed and treated, along with raising public awareness about the disease.

Watching: What is Epilepsy?

The article is verified by Assoc.TS.BSCKII. Nguyen Van Lieu – Head of Department of Neurology, Tam Anh General Hospital, Hanoi.

Table of Contents

Signs of recognition

Methods to diagnose epilepsy Misconceptions about epilepsyThe treatment methods for epilepsy at Tam Anh General Hospital, Hanoi

What is Epilepsy

?Epilepsy (English name Epileptic) is a chronic disease caused by abnormalities in the brain that lead to the simultaneous stimulation of a group of cells. neurons of the cerebral cortex, causing sudden and uncontrolled electrical discharges. Cortical stimulation in different regions can cause different manifestations. Convulsions are not the only manifestation, sudden absence of consciousness, limb spasms are also manifestations of the disease. (first)

Causes of seizures

According to PGS.TS.BS Nguyen Van Lieu, epilepsy is currently a common disease with many diverse causes, such as:

Genetic factors: According to scientists, some types of epilepsy are linked to specific genes. However, these genes are only factors that make patients more sensitive to environmental influences that can trigger seizures. In other words, genes are only factors that can affect, not determine, and definitely cause disease. Traumatic brain injury: Serious accidents that cause injury to certain areas are one of the main causes. Diseases that cause brain damage: In some cases where tumors appear in the brain or have had a stroke, the risk of disease is great. Brain damage will cause disorders of the central nervous system, causing changes in brain activity and increasing the risk of epilepsy. Some diseases such as meningitis, encephalitis, abnormal structure in the brain of unknown cause… Prenatal trauma: Newborns have immature immune systems and are very sensitive to brain damage. In case the mother has an infection, lacks nutrition, the baby is born with a risk of brain damage … will lead to epilepsy in the newborn. For young children, even with high fever, prolonged convulsions are also easy. In addition, the habit of using antidepressants, stimulants such as alcohol, tobacco and drugs is also one of the possible causes of the disease.

Who is susceptible to epilepsy

?Anyone is at risk, but the following are at high risk:

Age: Epilepsy can occur at any age but is more common in the elderly and children. Specifically, the disease occurs in children under 10 years old account for about 40%, epilepsy occurs under 20 years old accounts for about 50% and tends to increase after the age of 60. Family history of the disease; Subjects with brain problems such as brain injury, brain damage and brain infections such as encephalitis, spinal cord inflammation… People with stroke and blood vessel diseases; Dementia can be the cause. Children with febrile seizures must be examined because when the fever is high enough to convulsions without prompt treatment, it can increase the risk of epilepsy for children in adulthood.

Recognizing signs

Signs of epilepsy vary widely. The disease is divided into two main types, partial epilepsy and generalized epilepsy. In some cases, it is initially partial epilepsy, but if not detected and treated in time, it will develop into generalized epilepsy. In each form of disease, each patient has different specific symptoms when having a seizure. (2)

1. Partial epilepsy

Partial seizures occur when part of the brain is abnormally active. Therefore, the symptoms of the disease only occur in a few parts of the body. Epilepsy can be divided into two types: simple partial seizures and complex partial seizures.

Simple form: The patient may experience spasticity or convulsions in one part of the body, vision and smell abnormalities, anxiety and fear of something for no apparent reason, feeling dizzy and upset stomach… Complex form: When the symptoms of the disease appear, most patients almost lose consciousness and do not know the seizure is happening. They stared, face blank, as if confused. Patients perform meaningless behaviors such as rubbing their hands, turning their heads, and walking back and forth… Waking up after a convulsion they don’t remember what happened.

2. Generalized epilepsy

Generalized seizures occur when there is too much electrical discharge in the brain that affects the entire brain. The two most common types are absence seizures and generalized tonic-clonic seizures.

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Generalized spasticity and convulsion: This is the most common form in adults and has quite obvious manifestations, which are considered to be the most recognizable. The patient may lose consciousness, gradually lose balance and fall, may be accompanied by screams, screams, but not because of pain. At this time, the patient also has real convulsions, they cannot control their limbs due to the tremor of the muscles. Seizures can occur within minutes or longer. Patients may experience urinary incontinence and foaming at the mouth. Absence of consciousness: This form of seizure is common in children and rare in adults. The most typical manifestation is loss of consciousness for about 5 – 15 seconds, staring, sometimes rolling eyes upwards, children who are holding things suddenly drop… Because of these symptoms, many children with epilepsy often cannot concentration in school and lead to severe decline in academic performance. West syndrome: A generalized form of epilepsy that is common in infants between 3 and 8 months of age, then stops and switches to another form when children up to 4 years old. The disease is also known as neonatal spasm. Common causes are genetic problems, metabolic disorders, birth asphyxia, brain infections that lead to abnormalities in brain structure and function.

This particular form of epilepsy causes delays in both physical and intellectual development, affects later learning and can lead to autism. Some symptoms include the baby’s head nodding sharply for a few seconds, the whole body flexing forward, and the baby’s arms and legs bent forward. Each seizure may last only 2 seconds, then stop, then resume into a series of continuous contractions.

Methods of diagnosis of epilepsy

To diagnose epilepsy, experts will perform a clinical examination first, then combine with modern technical means to get the most accurate results. (3)

1. Clinical examination

Exploiting the patient’s medical history and clinical symptoms Check the patient’s behavior and motor skills to identify the types of epilepsy he or she may have. Blood tests: From the results of blood tests, the doctor Doctors can also help people look for signs of infections, genetics, and other disorders that may be related to epilepsy.

2. Perform various tests to clearly see the damage in the brain

After the clinical examination, the doctor will give the patient the following additional procedures to make the results as accurate as possible:

EEG: This is considered the most common method used in the diagnosis of epilepsy. The specialist will use electrodes to record the electrical activity of the brain. If the patient has epilepsy, the pattern of brain waves also changes abnormally even when they have not had a seizure. Computed tomography (CT) scan: With this method, the doctor will see a clipped image of the brain. Horizontal and brain lesions such as tumors or bleeding in the brain. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A way to use radio waves and magnets for experts to see details of the brain and detect it. damage or abnormalities in the brain that cause seizures.

How dangerous is epilepsy

?Epilepsy can be cured, but if left untreated, complications of the disease are extremely dangerous and even life-threatening.

For infants: Children are at risk of perinatal asphyxia, nervous system infections, birth defects, cerebral hemorrhage, hypocalcemia, hypoglycemia, metabolic disorders. For young children: Children may have to deal with Faced with sequelae of brain damage. Adolescents, especially absence epilepsy: There is an increased risk of drowning while swimming, or falling while climbing and severely impaired school performance due to reduced concentration. .For adults: It is extremely dangerous if the patient has a seizure while driving or operating machinery at height… Such situations can endanger the patient’s life. Especially, for women and the elderly, this is a scary disease, seriously affecting life, daily work and even motherhood. Epilepsy does not only affect health. health but also put great psychological pressure on the patient. For many patients, it is the negative attitude of the community that makes them feel guilty, low self-esteem and difficult to integrate into life.

Misconceptions about epilepsy

Epilepsy tends to increase, but public awareness about this disease is still limited, leading to unnecessary fears and misconceptions surrounding this disease. Here are some misconceptions about the disease that need to be eliminated immediately.

1. Epilepsy is caused by the devil

“The epilepsy makes me live in fear all the time. I am afraid that my friends will laugh at me and call me a ghost. I also want to have fun with my friends, and also want to be a happy day at school every day; but I’m worried that when I have a seizure, I won’t be able to hide my illness anymore and if that’s the case, no one will want to play with me. My mother also said that she was worried that no one would dare to marry me in the future, so she banned me I can talk about my illness with strangers”, 17-year-old NHH (Hung Yen City) shared.

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N.H.H’s case is just one of many patients facing community stigma. Many people believe that the disease is caused by a certain divine or demonic force. But that is a misconception and needs to be dismissed immediately.

N.H.H was directly treated by Assoc. Prof. TS.BSCKII Nguyen Van Lieu – A leading expert in Neurology, Professional Advisor, Doctor of Examination Department of Tam Anh General Hospital, Hanoi. Currently, N.H.H has been cured, she studies well and can integrate with her classmates.

2. Women with the disease cannot or should not become pregnant

Women with the disease often suffer the evil reputation of being unable to bear children or, if they do, can pass the disease on to their children. Therefore, once the disease is revealed, no matter how perfect they are, it is very difficult to have a chance to get married. This is a misconception and needs to be eliminated, even in the world there have been movements to protect the right to have children of women with epilepsy.

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It is the excessive stigma and wrong views of the community that have caused these women to suffer more psychological pressure and pain than being deprived of their sacred motherhood. The fact is, if the patient has been treated with relief, the patient can still have a normal pregnancy. Your doctor will choose the right drugs to reduce the risk of birth defects.

3. Patients always have convulsions

Different types of epilepsy will present differently. Therefore, it can be affirmed that the symptoms of epilepsy are very diverse. In addition to convulsions, foaming at the mouth or rolling eyes, sufferers may experience many other signs such as a feeling of fear, a dull face, …

4. The disease cannot be cured

This view is completely wrong. Epilepsy is a treatable and completely curable disease. In fact, many patients have been treated and returned to normal life. Some common treatments are surgery or antiepileptic drugs. In addition, depending on the form of the disease and the patient’s condition, the doctor will recommend an appropriate treatment method.

5. Epilepsy is a form of mental illness

Most of the cases that suffer from the illness are blamed for being mentally ill. The truth is, epilepsy is not a mental illness. Except for the time of the attack, the patient is still awake and able to carry out normal activities.

6. Give first aid by stuffing something into the patient’s mouth

When detecting a patient having a seizure, many people think that putting something in the mouth will prevent the patient from biting their tongue, but that action can make the patient easily suffocate and lead to death. death. You should only tilt the patient’s head to one side, help them loosen their clothing and keep the patient in a comfortable position. The patient should be constantly monitored during a seizure.

Treatment of epilepsy at Tam Anh General Hospital, Hanoi

Many studies have documented the difficulties and disadvantages that cases of the disease are facing, largely due to the wrong view, wrong attitude of the whole community about this disease. Therefore, the World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a global campaign with the goal of combating epilepsy and improving the quality of life for people with the disease.

Assoc. Prof. TS.BSCKII Nguyen Van Lieu – a leading expert in Neurology also affirmed: “Epilepsy is a disease that needs to be treated and can be completely cured. The cure rate is quite high, up to 70%. That means about 70% of patients can stop their seizures and return to normal life after a course of treatment from 2.5 to 3 years. The remaining 30% cannot be completely cured, but they can still take medicine to maintain and ensure a healthy life.

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There have been many cases of successful treatment, they have stopped the seizure and returned to normal life. The case of Mr. N.H.D 32 years old (Ngoc Lac District – Thanh Hoa) is an example.

Finding out he had epilepsy was a big shock to Mr. N.H.D. Everything seemed to fall apart. From an active worker, he became self-contained, living in guilt and fear. D. suffers because he can no longer work, because he can no longer earn money and cannot be the breadwinner of the family. Instead of taking care of his wife and children, he now becomes a burden for the whole family.

“Since the day I got sick, everything inside and out has been taken care of by my wife’s hand, I know my wife is under a lot of pressure, many relatives don’t understand, they keep saying I’m lazy, possessed by ghosts, and eaten by my wife. , but my wife is still silent, staying by my side helps me stay mentally strong to treat the disease… Men who don’t work to support their wives and children are not as good as dead, it hurts a lot”, Mr. D. confided.

Then all efforts also paid off, Mr. D. was fortunate to know and was directly examined and treated by Doctor Lieu. N.H.D has finally recovered from the disease, found a new job, has more income to take care of his wife and children, and is gradually settling down.

Mr. D. emotionally shared: “For more than 4 years, I no longer know the epilepsy is nothing. Thanks to Doctor Liao, everything went well for me. I not only live a normal life, but also get a good-paying job and can take care of everything in the house with my wife, my children see that their father is healthy, they are very happy, study hard and get better. sure”.

Epilepsy treatment methods at Tam Anh General Hospital, Hanoi

Common epilepsy treatment methods are medical treatment and medical treatment. The doctor will base on each specific case to choose the right method:

1. Medical treatment

For the most part, epilepsy patients will be given antiepileptic drugs to limit seizures. Doctors may use 1 or a combination of drugs depending on the patient’s condition and seizure severity. When using the drug, patients may note some side effects such as fatigue, weight gain, and rash and dizziness.

Persistence is decisive in the treatment process because antiepileptic drugs often have to be used for a long time and according to the doctor’s prescription. Patients should consult their doctor about other medications before using. In any case, the patient must absolutely not quit smoking. In addition, they need to be continuously monitored and treated by neurologists.

The cooperation between the patient and the doctor is also very important. During treatment, if you feel depressed, tired or experience unusual health conditions, you should inform your doctor immediately.

In addition, if the patient still uses alcohol, beer, tobacco, coffee … will make the nervous system more seriously affected and lead to difficult treatment, the disease is easy to relapse.

2. Treatment by surgical method

For some patients who are resistant to drugs or drug treatment is not effective, still having seizures, surgery is required.

After completing the examination process, checking that the patient can fully meet the surgical criteria and determining the patient’s damaged areas, the doctors will conduct surgery.

3. Epilepsy can be cured

?The earlier a patient with epilepsy is treated, the better the chance of a cure. In cases where surgery is required, it should also be performed early because leaving brain damage “spreading” for a long time will make the surgical process more difficult and complicated, and the disease can seriously affect the patient’s life and health. .

According to Assoc.Professor.BSCKII Nguyen Van Lieu: “Epilepsy is not a mental illness because in addition to convulsions, patients can still study and live normally. Regardless of the circumstances, patients always need the care of their family, loved ones and the sympathy of the whole community so that they can live a normal life.”

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Direct contact: Tam Anh General Hospital, 108 Hoang Nhu Tiep Street, Bo De Ward, Long Bien District, City. Hanoi.

Here’s everything you need to know about epilepsy, also known as epileptic seizures. Hope this article will help you understand the prevention effectively!