uring the mayoclinic as “periods of unusual behavior,

uring ones lifetime, chances are, they will come in contact with someone who has Epilepsy. It is important to fully understand this disease. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder. This means that it directly has an impact on brain activity. Sounds dangerous? It is. The activity of neurons in the brain stem region become overly excited and cause a seizure. A seizure is defined by the mayoclinic as “periods of unusual behavior, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness”. Epilepsy can affect anyone. A seizure is simply a side effect of epilepsy. Many people often have seizures for numerous reasons, not all are due to having epilepsy. If a child, such as my cousin is diagnosed with Epilepsy at a young age, taking anti seizure medication may help the child outgrow the disease because the problem has time to correct itself from the beginning. However, if they obtain Epilepsy through an event such as a tragic accident such as my stepdad, the problem is only enhanced. My cousin was dropped on her head at a young age. This damaged some of the nerve capabilities in her brain. She described it as “Little piano keys playing a beautiful song and then all of the sudden one key gets stuck” (Tiffany Wommack, Age 24). When the key sticks, the neuron activity in her brain is sent into a crazy overdrive and potassium ions are leaking so to speak across the membrane of the brain, outweighing the sodium ions. This is what triggers the seizure. As one can see Epilepsy is the problem with the “keys” and seizures are a mere side effect of what happens as a result of the excitement. “Seizure signs and symptoms may include: a temporary confusion,  staring spell, uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs, loss of consciousness or awareness, psychic symptoms such as fear, anxiety or deja vu” (Mayoclinic). To diagnose epilepsy, a neurologist may order A neurological exam or a nerve conduction study. During this exam, the doctor will inflict a series of small shocks to certain nerves in the brain. The neurologist will also test the  behavior, motor abilities, mental function in order to determine what strand of epilepsy the patient has. Treatment for epilepsy is done through the drug, “Phenobarbital” (Web MD). Religiously taking this medication will help negate the side effects of epilepsy. However, this medication does not cure the disease. It simply reduces the amount of seizures a patient has significantly. In my stepdads case, he was hit by a train and the accident damaged some of the nerves in his brain and he developed the disease. He took the medication, however was not educated on his condition the way he should have been. Alcohol, loud noises, stress and pressure, and certain types of light such as fast blinking strobe lights are all types of stimuli that can trigger a seizure. Unfortunatley, having epilepsy makes one more suceptible to neuron mistakes in the brain. My stepdad, Dr. Jeffery Paul Korte died in 2008 from having a seizure so strong, that it stopped his heart. He was one of the severe cases where no matter how much of his medicine he took, the stimuli he was exposed to on a daily basis caused him to have multiple seizures. However, he was a very successful Pedietrist with his own practice in multiple locations around the United States. Tiffany Wommack and her sister Brooke outgrew their disease and are currently becoming hcemical and social enguiuneers at Georgia State. There are different strands of seizures. A Focal seizure for example, will only show abnormal nerve impulses in only one region of the brain. “A focal seizures without loss of consciousness alter emotions or change the way things look, smell, feel, taste or sound. They may also result in involuntary jerking of a body part, such as an arm or leg” (Mayoclinic). It is important to watch for these symptoms in epileptic patients, as seeing it and calling 911 could save their life


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