What is Epilepsy in Children?
- Epilepsy is one of the common childhood conditions. Seizures and epilepsy is more common in infants and children than any other age group. It is estimated that about 50 million persons are affected worldwide
- Epilepsy is more than twice as common in children compared to adults (about 700 per 100,000 in children under the age of 16 years versus 330 per 100,000 in adults)
- The type of epilepsy, possible cause and other associated conditions must be identified, because incorrect diagnosis and treatment can lead to persistence of seizures.
- Seizures are caused by abnormal electrical signals fired by the brain cells. The older terms for seizures are convulsions or fits. Seizures may not show any visible symptoms or they may be dramatic with violent shaking of the entire body and falling down with momentary loss of consciousness
- Having a single seizure does not indicate a diagnosis of epilepsy. Many persons just have a single seizure which may not recur again.
- Seizures caused by external factors such as high fever, low oxygen levels or low blood sugar levels are termed non-epileptic seizures and are not considered epilepsy
- The frequency of seizures in epilepsy is highly variable. Some persons may have seizures every day whereas in certain cases years may pass between two seizures. In most patients, the frequency falls somewhere in between these two extremes.
- Epilepsy can be generalized involving the whole body or focal (partial) involving only a specific part of the body.
- The word “tonic” seizure refers to involuntary muscle contraction occurring during a seizure. Similarly the word “clonic” refers to jerky movements of the body during a seizure. Both these phenomena can affect the whole body (generalized) or a part (focal) of the body
- The family/carers of young children with epilepsy should be provided information about the condition, available treatments and the prognosis
- Seizure Information for Parents - (https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/specialties/epilepsy-center/seizure-information-for-parents)
- Epilepsy in Young Children: What Is the Treatment? - (https://uichildrens.org/health-library/epilepsy-young-children-what-treatment)