Finding the right answer: Is epilepsy curable?

Epilepsy is one of the most serious and frightening neurological conditions. It’s unsettling because most people who have it tend to look perfectly normal and healthy, and yet their nervous systems have sustained damage that prevents them from functioning normally all the time. Epilepsy is also challenging, not just for the person affected with it but also for his family and friends. Fortunately, there are ways to manage epilepsy, and although the condition can’t be treated for good, how to cure epilepsy relies on the right treatments that can control the problem and keep the person as safe and healthy as possible.

Anti-epileptic drugs: the best epilepsy medications in 2020

With the right treatment, epilepsy can be very well controlled, and the person can actually have an otherwise normal life as long as he follows his doctor’s orders regarding medications, diet, exercise, and other lifestyle factors. In most cases, these drugs are all the person needs on how to cure epilepsy. There are many kinds of anti-epileptic drugs and it can take some time before the patient finds the ones that suit him or her best. It’s not unusual for the doses of these drugs to change regularly, and this all depends on how well the person is responding to the treatment.

In this period of waiting, when doctors are still finding out which drugs will work best for you, it is important to stay patient. You should also carefully monitor any side effects and unusual symptoms you are feeling when trying out a new drug. Think of this time as a learning period: you are finding out what your body needs, and by being careful and patient, you and your doctor will find the best treatment for you.

Carbamazepine is an anticonvulsant that is very effective and is used as a combination drug or as such. The main benefit of using this drug is that it improves alertness and reliefs depression. It is also beneficial in preventing epilepsy and seizure syndromes. The side effects may include double vision, sleepiness stomach upset, etc. these side effects can be lowered while using the medications starting with a small dosage.

Phenytoin is another category of drug which is used for treating the adults who are suffering from various seizure conditions like Status epileptics, Partial epileptics, etc. but as with any other medications, these are also having side effects which include excess body hair growth, lethargy, depression, anemia, etc. There is sometimes a chance to develop toxic responses even to the normal dosage of drugs.

The side effects are generally relying on the dosages as well as on the duration. Sometimes phenytoin is used in combination with some newer drugs to reduce the dosage and also to lower the risks involved in using these drugs.

Individuals with epilepsy are also advised to go for periodic medical check-ups and monitoring of drug levels in the blood along with liver and kidney checks to make sure that no damage to these organs has occurred as a result of medication use.

It is very important to take medications for epilepsy timely, despite possible side effects. It is believed that if the seizure lasts more than 5-10 minutes, then the destruction of brain cells occurs. In fact, it is not the seizure itself that is dangerous, but the high probability of getting a head injury. You must know how to prevent serious injury during a seizure.

An integrated program where patients are offered medical, dietary and surgical treatments, as well as cognitive and psycho-social assessments. All types of epilepsy or seizures are appropriately treated by a team of neurologists, neurosurgeons, specialized dietitians and nurses, neuropsychologists, psychologists and EEG technicians.

Who can have epilepsy surgery?

The determination of who can have surgery is a detailed process involving a battery of tests and diagnostic procedures reviewed by a neurologist, neurosurgeon, and neuropsychologist. Generally, patients with

1) microscopic scar in one temporal lobe,

2) one lesion on MRI or CT scan in temporal frontal occipital or parietal lobe,

3) drop attacks,

4) paralysis and seizures on the same side are good surgical candidates. However, each patient’s case is different and requires a thorough evaluation at a comprehensive epilepsy center.

Parietal lobe epilepsy management

The Parietal lobe

Like other types of epilepsy, parietal lobe epilepsy can be managed. Treatments are already available to relieve patients of the symptoms associated with this medical condition. Seizures are being controlled by continuously providing maintenance drugs that help maintain neurological wellness. More tests are being conducted to develop a treatment for this type of epilepsy, particularly to address the unpleasant sensations experienced during seizure attacks. Researchers are developing new strategies in controlling its various side effects such as perception difficulty, hallucination, and vertigo.

Epilepsy may be a neurological condition and people with it often become epileptic as a result of damage to the brain, but many studies have shown that a healthy lifestyle has a big impact on how well the condition can be controlled. Doctors often prescribe a ketogenic diet in which the patient has to carefully monitor his or her calories. Empty calories, where one gets little or no nutrients, should be avoided. Healthy fats are emphasized while simple carbohydrates that come from packaged foods and baked goods are avoided.

It can be hard to stick a strict diet, but it gets easier if you keep in mind that the diet is definitely good for your body and may be important in helping you keep epilepsy under control. Eating healthily just may be the most important tip to follow on how is epilepsy treated, for doing so will keep you strong and active, and this, in turn, will help you live a regular and happy life.

Who are candidates for neurosurgery?

Neurosurgery is often advised for people suffering from seizures that are associated with brain malformations such as tumors, malformed blood vessels, and strokes. Although neurosurgery is always risky and requires a lot of consideration before making a decision, most doctors are advising patients to undergo neurosurgery sooner rather than later. Studies have shown that patients face better outcomes earlier the surgery is performed.

Ten questions to ask the neurosurgeon prior to surgery.

We have identified questions that every candidate should ask their neurosurgeon during the evaluation process for brain surgery.

1. How will the surgery affect my senses (sight, hearing, speech)?

2. How will the surgery affect my memory?

3. How long will the recovery period last?

4. Do you have any reservations regarding the surgery?

5. Will I be able to have children after the surgery?

6. When will I be able to go back to work?

7. What will the recovery entail?

8. How will the frequency of my seizures be altered?

9. When can I come off my medication?

10. What are the emotional implications?

What to expect after neurosurgery

Most patients who undergo neurosurgery do not experience any form of neurological deficit after surgery. Loss of function is not a common side effect of neurosurgery in epilepsy patients. Rather, successful surgeries usually result in improvements in memory, speech and in work and school performance.

Epilepsy memory loss due to medication

Anti-epileptic drugs (AED) are reported interfering with memories and information retention. This side effect is rather temporary so there is no need to worry about the long term memory effects of these medications. However, it is strongly suggested reporting to your health care provider when your anti-epileptic medication is interfering with your memory and information retention. Health care providers may be able to prescribe other brands of AEDs or prescribe memory enhancers to counter the effects of AEDs. Depending on your preference, memory enhancing supplements like Asian ginseng and nootropics are available and are usually prescribed to patients to improve epilepsy memory loss.

Prognosis after treatment

Barring all other medical conditions, the prognosis of epilepsy patients basically has the same average life span as that of a person without epilepsy. The only probable reason why an epilepsy patient is at a disadvantage is because of the uncontrollable and unpredictable occurrence of epileptic seizures. Anything can happen from losing consciousness and getting a fatal head trauma or experiencing long periods of seizures that may cause severe brain damage. These accidents happen to many patients with epilepsy so it is important that they are accompanied in all places that they go to.

Removing the epileptic seizures, people with epilepsy are normal individuals. They could definitely go to school, enjoy the outdoors, go to college, and enjoy a vibrant career afterward. With the help of maintenance drugs that control the occurrence of seizures, people with epilepsy can live normal lives. Prognosis of epilepsy doesn’t say anything about living in a sterilized bubble to reach a lifespan of 60 years. With constant monitoring and consistent visits to a primary care physician, the quality of life of a patient could be vastly improved.

Dr. Ali Elahi

This article is written by Dr. Ali Elahi, a specialist in neuromuscular disorders, certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN). His expertise includes evaluation and treatment of patients with epilepsy, stroke, headache, neuromuscular disease, and cerebral palsy.He also manages neurological emergencies in the Intensive Care Units.

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