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Difference Between Seizure and Epilepsy

There are millions of people who get affected by seizures and epilepsy. Many people have a misconception about seizures and epilepsy. Though they both seem to be same, there is a vast difference between them.  Let’s understand the difference between them.

What is a Seizure?

The brain consists of billions of neurons, which interact with each other to process and transmit information. This helps your brain and body to function normally. But when multiple neurons send wrong signals or misfire, a sudden electrical discharge happens and it changes the behaviour of your brain. This is called a seizure.

 A seizure usually occurs when the brain receives multiple abnormal electrical signals at a time. It affects the normal electric functioning of the brain. 

Depending on the severity and the location of the brain, a seizure may cause muscle twitches and spasms, loss of consciousness, changes in sensation and mood etc. 

Types of Seizures

Seizures are broadly classified into two types depending on how much of your brain got affected. The two categories include generalised seizures and focal seizures.

Generalised seizures: A seizure in which the whole brain is involved is called a generalised seizure. This type of seizure causes loss of consciousness.

Focal or partial seizures: A focal seizure occurs when there is an abnormal electric brain function in one specific portion of the brain. Focal seizure causes changes in vision and smell and hearing abnormalities.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological condition where a person experiences recurrent and unprovoked seizures. It is a common neurological disorder that affects people of all age groups.

In general, a seizure can occur during fever, low or high blood sugar or a brain concussion. People may experience one or more seizures during these circumstances. But it is not considered as epilepsy. A person is considered to have epilepsy if he/she has two or more unprovoked seizures.

In most cases, it is not easy to identify the reason that causes epilepsy. But there are several causes of epilepsy such as stroke, brain damage due to injury or illness, tumours, imbalance of neurotransmitters etc. 

How Are Seizures and Epilepsy Treated?

When you visit a neurologist to treat seizure, he conducts some medical tests and evaluates your medical history to determine the type of seizure. The doctor also considers your age, frequency of seizures, your response to particular medication or procedure and your preferences. The treatment options include medication and surgery considering the above factors.

If you have two or more unprovoked seizures, the doctor considers it as epilepsy. To diagnose epilepsy, the doctor considers your medical history and symptoms to determine the medical test to be performed. The doctor determines the treatment plan based on your symptoms and health condition. If the symptoms are minor, the doctor suggests few medications and vagus nerve stimulator. In some cases, a surgery needs to be performed to remove a portion of the brain that causes seizures.

Visit Dr. Nikhil for Epilepsy and Seizures

When you experience seizure or epilepsy, consult a neurologist immediately. Dr. Nikhil is a neurologist in Hyderabad, who specialises in treating different types of neurological disorders. He understands the needs of patients and treats them with the utmost care. Book an appointment to consult us.

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