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Neurologist Dr Pawan Ojha’s 8-Point Checklist To Deal With Epilepsy In Children

Anything that injures the brain could cause epilepsy and seizures. A person would be diagnosed with epilepsy if they have unprovoked seizures or are diagnosed with epilepsy syndrome. Seizures cause a change in function or behaviour. A seizure may take many different forms including a blank stare, muscle spasms and uncontrolled movements. First celebrated in 2008, 26th March is known as International Epilepsy Day to raise awareness about the condition.  epilepsy. TC46 connected with Neurologist Dr Pawan Ojha, Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai, to learn more about epilepsy and seizures in children. Here, he shares 8 things to know if you are dealing with someone who is diagnosed with epilepsy.

1. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which abnormal and excessive electrical activity of the brain causes seizures, unusual behaviour, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness. Some people simply stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while some get repeated twitching of arms or legs. Having a single seizure doesn’t necessarily mean you have Epilepsy – as least two unprovoked seizures are generally required for an Epilepsy diagnosis. Seizures are generally classified as either focal or generalized, based on how the abnormal brain activity begins.

2. Parents should make note of triggers and warning signs

Parents should be aware of the types of seizures, the diagnosis (Epilepsy Syndrome) their child has, and any specific precautions they need to take. They should also be aware of the possibility of disease worsening, the need for timely anti-seizure medications, knowing ways to avoid injuries and any risks during a seizure. They should be made aware of the need to avoid seizure triggers such as stress, fever, flickering or flashing lights and lack of sleep. They should watch out for warning signs of seizures like staring spells, jerking, repeated blinking, confusion and seek urgent medical advice.

3. Epilepsy triggers include stress, flickering lights, illness

Some well-recognized triggers that could cause epileptic seizures are missing doses of prescribed seizure medicines, fatigue, stress, poor sleep, flashing or flickering lights, monthly periods, missing meals, fever or infections.

4. Jerking movements or stiffening of the body are common seizure symptoms in a child

Some symptoms of seizures in a child could be: staring, jerking movements of the arms and legs, stiffening of the body, loss of consciousness, breathing problems or stopping breathing, loss of bowel or bladder control, falling suddenly for no apparent reason or sudden loss of consciousness.

5. A medical diagnosis of epilepsy disorder includes an MRI of the brain with seizure protocol

Diagnosis of seizure involves history taking, detailed description of the type of seizures, physical examination and if possible a video recording of the seizure. Some routine blood investigations that are, serum electrolytes, blood sugar level, hemogram, liver and kidney function tests, calcium and ammonia tests may be required. An MRI of the brain with seizure protocol and EEG or Video EEG is often necessary for the diagnosis of seizures.

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