Epilepsy in children

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Even though epilepsy can have its first manifestations at any age, most frequent it does become visible during childhood. Epilepsy interferes with the normal transmission of signals between the brain nerve cells causing a visible external seizure upon the child.

Epileptic seizures can show up spontaneously, without a well established triggering element (criptogenetic epilepsy) or sometimes they can be caused by fever, hypoglycemic status or infections (in this situation we can talk about occasional epilepsy).

Epilepsy seizures can manifest sometimes quite dramatically and this expression of the disease makes the parents panic and act irrationally. Even though you might not be a parent of a child suffering of epilepsy, you might be a teacher or a person who interacts with children a lot, and this is a condition that should determine you to be ready in any moment to handle well any seizure.

Depending on which area of the brain is affected by epilepsy seizures can manifest in various ways:

* Convulsions- also described as jerking of the body

* Loss of conscience manifested as blank moments when the child does not perform any of the given commands and does not recall what just happened. Sometimes these absence moments can be seen while asking the child to write something. When a seizure is taking place the child will stop writing for a few moments.

* Confused or strange behavior of the child. Some might just bend their head over and stay like this for a few moments. Others make irrational eye movements during the seizure and do not stop even though you tell them to. Inadequate facial expressions might also be encountered.

* Strange sensations starting with a bad taste in the mouth and ending with needles.

Epilepsy can be diagnosed by a pediatrician or a neurologist who will need to know as detailed as possible how the seizures are manifesting and will also need to perform an EEG (electroencephalogram) which will show in which part of the brain is the problem. Video telemetry testing is another helpful test for diagnosing epilepsy but it takes a couple of days and you need to hospitalize your child for this. This test records the EEG of the child and also the video image of its activity. In this way doctors can correlate the moment when a seizure appears on the EEG with the abnormal activity the child performs during this time. MRI scans and CTs are also useful.

Luckily treatment is available for this condition and a lot of anti-epileptic drugs are available nowadays. The medical team handling the child will have to decide what drug association will work best for that child and monitor in time the effectiveness of the implemented treatment. Only in this way you can make sure the seizures are kept under control and that your child lives a normal life.

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