Definition of Epilepsy: Symptoms, Types, and Causes of the Disease!

Definition of Epilepsy-  As is known to the general public, epilepsy is a condition in which a person experiences seizures in certain parts of the body due to a disturbance in the nervous system of the brain. Usually people with epilepsy are not aware of what they are doing when the disease recurs. This epileptic condition can occur due to central nervous system (neurological) disorders which cause sufferers to experience seizures or even worse until they faint.

In general, a person cannot be said to have epilepsy if they have not had two or more seizures within 24 hours for no apparent reason. However, patients with epilepsy may have seizures more than once, i.e. repeated at the same time or at different times.

In fact, in some cases, epilepsy can cause seizures during sleep. This is most likely caused by a change in body phase from waking to sleeping which triggers abnormal activity in the brain.

So for that, Readers who want to know about the meaning of epilepsy or also known as epilepsy, in this discussion we will try to provide detailed information regarding epilepsy for all of Readers’ friends.

Further discussion of epilepsy can be seen below!

Definition of Epilepsy

Epilepsy (derived from the Ancient Greek verb ἐπιλαμβάνειν , meaning “to pass over, to possess or to torment”) is a group of long-term neurological diseases characterized by seizures. These seizures can vary in episodes from brief, barely noticeable seizures to severe tremors that last a long time. In epilepsy, seizures are usually recurrent and have no underlying direct cause, whereas seizures with a specific cause are not considered to represent epilepsy. In Indonesian, the term “epilepsy” is used for various cases of epilepsy.

In most cases, the cause is unknown, although some people develop epilepsy due to brain injury, stroke, brain tumors, and drug and alcohol abuse. Epileptic seizures are the result of excessive and abnormal neuronal activity in the cortex. Diagnosis usually involves ruling out other disorders causing similar symptoms (eg fainting) and determining the proximate cause. Epilepsy can often be confirmed by electroencephalography (EEG).

There is no cure for epilepsy, but in about 70 percent of cases, seizures can be controlled with medication. For those whose seizures do not respond to medication, surgery, nerve stimulation, or dietary changes may be considered. Not all epilepsy symptoms last a lifetime, and many people experience improvement to the point where treatment is no longer needed. Epilepsy, like tuberculosis, must be fully treated, even if it appears healthy. For epilepsy, treatment was stopped one year after the last seizure.

About 1% of the world’s population (65 million) suffer from epilepsy and nearly 80% of cases occur in developing countries. Epilepsy becomes more common with age. In developed countries, early symptoms of new cases are most common in children and the elderly; In developing countries, it occurs most often in older children and young adults because of the prevalence of underlying causes. About 5 to 10% of people have unprovoked seizures before the age of 80, and there is a 40 to 50% chance of having another seizure. In many parts of the world, people with epilepsy are not allowed to drive or drive at all, but most of them are able to drive again after an epilepsy-free period.

Epilepsy Symptoms

Epilepsy is characterized by a long-term risk of recurrent seizures. These seizures can occur in different ways, depending on which part of the brain is affected and the patient’s age. Here are some symptoms of epilepsy that you need to know:

1. Seizures

The most common form of epileptic seizures (60%) are seizures/shakes. Of these seizures, two-thirds start with partial seizures (which can later become generalized seizures) and one-third with generalized seizures. The remaining 40% of other types of seizures are non-convulsive. An example of this type is absence seizures, which represent a reduced level of consciousness and usually last about 10 seconds.

Focal epileptic seizures are often preceded by a special experience known as an aura.

Sensory (sight, hearing, and smell), psychic, autonomic, or motor phenomena. Seizures can start in one muscle group and spread to surrounding muscle groups, which is known as a Jacksonian epileptic seizure. Automation can occur. These are involuntary movements, usually simple repetitive movements such as smacking your lips or more complex movements such as trying to pick something up.

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About 6% of people with epilepsy have seizures, often triggered by certain events, known as reflex seizures. People with reflex epilepsy have seizures that are only triggered by certain stimuli. Common triggers are lightning and sudden noises. In some types of epilepsy, seizures occur more frequently during sleep, and in other types of epilepsy, they occur almost exclusively during sleep.

2. Postictal

After an active seizure, there is usually a period of confusion called the postictal period before the level of consciousness returns to normal. This usually takes 3-15 minutes, but can take hours.

Other common symptoms are: Fatigue, headaches, difficulty speaking and abnormal behavior. Post-attack psychosis is quite common, occurring in 6-10 percent of sufferers. Patients often do not remember what happened during this period. Localized weakness, known as Todd’s palsy, can also occur after a focal epileptic seizure. When it does, it usually lasts a few seconds to a few minutes but rarely a day or two.

3. Psychosocial

Epilepsy can affect a person’s social and psychological well-being. These effects may include social isolation, stigma or disability. This effect can lead to lower school performance and fewer job opportunities. Learning disabilities are common in patients with epilepsy, and especially in children with epilepsy. The stigma of epilepsy can also affect affected families.

Certain disorders are more common in people with epilepsy, depending in part on the symptoms of epilepsy. These may include: depression, anxiety disorders and migraines. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects children with epilepsy three to five times more frequently than the general population. Both ADHD and epilepsy have serious consequences for a child’s behavior, learning abilities, and social development. Epilepsy is also more common in autistic people

Epilepsy is caused by abnormal brain activity that can affect all processes controlled by your brain. In many cases, the symptoms of epilepsy appear spontaneously and for a short time.

In short, here are some of the symptoms of epilepsy that can be identified:

  • Temporary confusion.
  • Empty (dark) eyes stare too long at one place. Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs.
  • Total or temporary loss of consciousness.
  • Mental symptoms.
  • muscle stiffness.
  • Tremor (shaking) or spasms in one part of the body (face, arms, legs) or throughout the body. Seizures, followed by sudden rigidity and loss of consciousness, which can cause the person to fall suddenly.

Types of Epilepsy

Recurrent seizures are the main symptom of epilepsy. The severity of seizures varies, depending on which part of the brain is first affected and how far the disease has spread. Types of seizures are divided into two based on brain disease, namely:

1. Partial Epilepsy

Seizures are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Partial seizures are seizures that only affect one area of ​​the brain.

Partial epilepsy, also called focal seizures, is common in adults with epilepsy. The type of seizure that occurs depends on which part of the brain is affected.

Symptoms can be in the form of motor movements or felt through the five senses. Partial seizures usually affect one part of the body or only one side of the body. However, these seizures can sometimes become generalized seizures.

In partial or focal seizures, only part of the brain is affected. Partial seizures are divided into two categories, namely:

  • Simple partial seizures, namely seizures in which the subject does not lose consciousness. Symptoms may include twitching or tingling in the limbs, dizziness and flashing lights. The part of the body that experiences seizures depends on which part of the brain is affected. For example, if epilepsy affects the brain that controls the movement of the arms or legs, only those two limbs will have seizures. Partial seizures can also cause sufferers to experience emotional changes, such as: Sudden excitement or fear.
  • Complex partial seizures. Sometimes focal seizures impair a patient’s consciousness, causing them to appear temporarily confused or semi-conscious. These are called complex partial seizures. Other features of complex partial seizures include staring blankly, swallowing, chewing, or rubbing hands.

2. General Epilepsy

In generalized or generalized seizures, the symptoms occur throughout the body and are caused by abnormalities that attack all parts of the brain. The following symptoms may occur when a person has a generalized seizure:

  • Eyes that open during seizures.
  • Tonic seizures. The body tensed for a few seconds. It may or may not be accompanied by rhythmic movements of the arms and legs. The muscles of the body, especially the arms, legs and back started to shake. Atonic seizures, where the muscles in the body suddenly relax, allowing the person to fall uncontrollably.
  • Clonic seizures, which are rhythmic convulsive movements that usually involve the muscles of the neck, face and arms.
  • Sometimes people with epilepsy make noise or scream during a seizure.
  • sleeping time
  • Shortness of breath for a few moments, making the body look pale and even blue. In some cases, a generalized seizure leaves the patient completely unconscious. Upon awakening, the patient may appear confused for several minutes or hours.
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There is a type of epilepsy that is common in children and is known as absence or petit mal. Although this condition is not dangerous, academic performance and concentration can be disrupted. This type of epilepsy is characterized by loss of consciousness for a few seconds, blinking or lip movement, and blank stares. Children with these seizures may not be aware of or remember what happened during their seizure.

Factors Causing Epilepsy

In many cases, the cause of epilepsy is unknown. However, here are some factors that affect the brain and may be a cause of epilepsy, including:

  • Genetic influence. Several types of epilepsy, classified according to the type of epilepsy or the part of the brain affected, run in families.
  • Head injuries Head injuries from car accidents, falls, or other traumatic injuries can also cause epilepsy. brain health Brain damage, such as a brain tumor or stroke, can cause epilepsy. Stroke is the leading cause of epilepsy in adults over the age of 35.
  • Infectious diseases Infectious diseases such as meningitis, HIV/AIDS and viral encephalitis can cause epilepsy.
  • Prenatal Injuries. Epilepsy in children is usually triggered by various disorders during pregnancy. Before birth, babies are prone to brain damage which can be caused by several factors, including maternal infection, poor diet, or lack of oxygen
  • Developmental disorders. Epilepsy can sometimes be associated with developmental disorders such as autism and neurofibromatosis.

Epilepsy Risk Factors

Although the exact cause is unknown, researchers have identified several factors that increase the risk of epilepsy. The following risk factors for epilepsy are:

  • Age Children and the elderly have more cases of epilepsy than working age adults. However, this disease can also occur in all age groups who have a high risk of developing epilepsy.
  • Genetics. Genes can cause epilepsy in most people. So if you have a family history of epilepsy, you have a higher risk of developing this disease.
  • Head injuries Head injuries from car accidents, falls or other traumatic injuries play a role in the development of epilepsy.
  • Stroke and vascular disease. Strokes and other blood vessel diseases can cause brain damage that can trigger this condition.
  • dementia Dementia can increase the risk of epilepsy in the elderly.
  • Encephalitis Infections, such as meningitis, that cause inflammation in the brain or spinal cord can increase your risk of developing this condition. History of childhood seizures. High fever can be a cause of epilepsy in children. Although not all, children with neurological disorders and a family history of epilepsy are usually more susceptible to this condition.

Diagnosis of Epilepsy

In addition to reviewing your symptoms and medical history, your doctor may perform several tests to diagnose your condition. Some of the diagnostic tests for epilepsy include:

  • The neurological examination examines the patient’s brain function, motor skills, and behavior.
  • Blood tests to rule out other health problems that can cause seizures.
  • An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a common epilepsy test that looks for abnormal brain waves.
  • Computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), functional MR imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) for imaging studies of the brain.


So a brief discussion about the meaning of what epilepsy is. Not only understanding the meaning of epilepsy, but further discussing the symptoms, types, causes and ways to find out whether someone has epilepsy based on these factors.

Knowing what epilepsy is is very useful for someone to understand the various possibilities and causal factors that cause someone to experience epilepsy. Because by understanding it well, we can be able to help provide first aid to people with epilepsy if one day they experience a relapse of their epilepsy.