Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects the nervous system. It is also known as a seizure disorder, because a person suffering from epilepsy has seizures. It is diagnosed when a person has two or more seizures that were not caused by some known medical condition such as alcohol withdrawal or extremely low blood sugar. There has been extensive research done on the causes and symptoms of epilepsy in order to formulate treatment methods.
In epilepsy patients, the normal working pattern of the neuron is disturbed. This makes the patients become in a strange way. Sometimes, patients suffer from convulsions, muscle spasms and loss of consciousness, and the frequency of epileptic attacks may vary from one patient to another.
It is estimated that over two million people in the US have been diagnosed with epilepsy. In the majority of patients, epilepsy can be controlled with modern medicines and surgical techniques. However, about twenty percent of the patients experience seizures even after treatment. These cases are called "Intractable epilepsy."
Seizures are sometimes known to cause brain damage. Research reports that in these cases, a patient has suffered severe seizures. However, most seizures do not cause harm to the brain, and any changes that arise are usually mild.
Conclusive medical research indicates that epilepsy is not contagious. It is not caused by mental illness or retardation. Most people suffering from epilepsy have a normal or above average intelligence. A majority of patients are able to lead normal lives. Epilepsy can not be completely cured. However, there have been cases where it ever goes away through protracted treatment.
The likelihood of becoming free from seizure is not very high for adults or for children with severe epilepsy syndromes. However, it is possible that seizures may decrease or even stop over time. This is more likely if the epilepsy has been controlled by medication, or if the patient has had epilepsy surgery. Researchers in the US and the rest of the developed world continue to study epilepsy in an attempt to develop a permanent cure.