Medical Terminology HLT 143-V1

Instructor: Susan R. Owen, MSN, and M.Ed.

Written by:   Jamie Swann

      Epilepsy, also known as a seizure disorder, is a chronic neurological condition caused by brief, strong surges of electrical activity in the brain.   The electrical activity can affect part or all of the brain.   The result of the strong surges of electrical activity is a seizure.   Seizures can last from a few seconds to several minutes and can take many different forms, from loss of consciousness, convulsions, and confusion.   Seizures can also take less commonly known forms, such as blank staring, laughing, lip smacking, or any number of appearances, including combinations of the above.   People affected with epilepsy can have different types of seizures, because epilepsy is not a single disorder, but more than 40 different syndromes.
      Epilepsy is one the most common neurological diseases, affecting up to 3% of the population by age 80.[i]     The incidence of epilepsy is 23-190 per 100,000. Epilepsy rates tend to be lower in infancy in industrialized nations and increase in prevalence by age. Approximately 200,000 new cases of epilepsy will be diagnosed this year in the United States alone.   Children under the age of 2 and adults 65 and older are most at risk for developing epilepsy.   The incidence of epilepsy is higher in African Americans and socially disadvantages populations.   Men tend to be affected more by epilepsy than women, though the difference is small.   Mental retardation and cerebral palsy increase the risk of developing epilepsy.   If a person suffers with both conditions, epilepsy risk increases to 50%.   Due to the many syndromes and conditions that lead to epilepsy, hard risk specifics can be difficult, however, the risk of developing epilepsy is generally about 1%.
      In approximately 7 out of 10 cases of diagnosed epilepsy, no underlying cause can be found.   Other causes include stroke, brain injury, brain tumors,...