Epilepsy: It comes in many forms and can present at any age

Archive, March, Month

Epileptic seizures often extend beyond convulsions.

A neurological condition, epilepsy causes its sufferers to experience unprovoked seizures — an attack of uncontrolled electrical activity between brain cells.

Seizures are often mischaracterized as someone convulsing to the point that they are forced to the ground, but they are actually abnormalities in muscle tone or movements, behaviors, sensations or states of awareness, presenting as confusion, stiffness and/or limpness and twitching in the majority of cases.

Listen to Dr. Ardeshna's recent podcast interview.

“The signs and symptoms are so variable — it depends on where the seizure is from and the type,” said Dr. Nikesh Ardeshna, McLaren Macomb epileptologist. “Some symptoms could be the body shaking or convulsing. Others could be numbness, tingling. Others could be hallucinations. Another one could be speech abnormality. Another one could be memory loss or even a combination of these.”

Another mischaracterization is that epileptic patients are born with the condition. While patients can develop the condition at any point in their life, research has shown that the fastest growing epilepsy population is senior citizens.

“You can be born with this abnormality, but it doesn’t even have to manifest when you’re born,” Dr. Ardeshna said. “There doesn’t even have to be a family history — you could be the first in your family to have a seizure at any age.”

McLaren Macomb is the only hospital in Macomb County with an Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, an advanced diagnostic unit, which Dr. Ardeshna oversees, to provide a thorough epilepsy diagnosis in order to tailor the most effective treatment.

Many different known causes can prompt an epileptic seizure, and there are still many other unknown causes. It’s a condition that can afflict anyone at any time.

Fortunately, though, it’s a condition that can be treated once properly diagnosed and controlled with medications.

“The goal for the patient is seizure freedom, or to get as close to that as you can as quick as you can and maintain quality of life,” he said. “You want to prevent the long-term consequences of seizures.”


Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at McLaren Macomb

Learn more about epilepsy care at McLaren Macomb.

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In Good Health podcast

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