Memory loss, lack of concentration, sleeping and waking late are not to be taken lightly as they could very well be symptoms of a hidden epilepsy condition. Dr. Yothin Chinvarun, Memory and Epilepsy specialist of the Epilepsy Clinic Bangkok Neuroscience Center at Bangkok Hospital says ” epilepsy is not only categorized by full body seizures, it can also be indicated by other symptoms such as syncope (temporary loss of consciousness), dizziness, and memory loss. Other symptoms include periodic loss of concentration, teeth grinding, or an inability to speak”. Warning Signs “Epilepsy symptoms greatly vary according to the nature and severity of electrical abnormality occurring in the brain. Because these are occurring in the brain it can be hard to observe, so people often do not know they have an epilepsy condition. Especially if symptoms occur intermittently this makes it easier for them to go unnoticed. In older patients, family members may often mistake these for naturally occurring symptoms of aging”. Neurologists explain that whilst epilepsy may occur in men and woman of all ages, it is more prevalent in people with a preexisting condition such as diabetes, kidney or liver disease. It can also be found in children, which may be the result of damage to the brain that occurred since birth and/or brain cell abnormality. Parents should observe their children’s closely if there are suspected abnormalities or seizures. Even if a seizure has only occurred once it is recommended to seek medical treatment rapidly as a seizure can cause brain cells to die. “Many patients are not aware that they have already experienced a seizure,because a seizure does not always result in collapse and a prolonged loss of consciousness. It may manifest as ‘absence’, for example, abruptly going quiet during a conversation, a temporary loss of consciousness where one temporarily ‘goes blank’, but is later aware of losing time. Early Diagnosis Methods for treating epilepsy include use of advanced technology for diagnosis and initial screening has approximately a 60-70% chance of successful epilepsy diagnosis. EEG: Electroencephalography records electrical activity of brain cells. The results of the test will appear on a line graph on a monitor. This is a simple,safe, painless, and effective method. EEG is commonly used to diagnose patients suspected of having epilepsy as it can verify whether symptoms are indeed that of the condition. It can also be effective in identifying the type of epilepsy which will affect what type of medication the patient is to be given. Electroencephalography (EEG) This simple, safe, painless, and effective test records electrical activity of brain cells, which is then displayed as a line graph on a monitor. EEG is not only used to diagnose patients suspected of having epilepsy but can also be effective in identifying the type of epilepsy suffered, which will naturally affect what type of medication the patient is to be given. Bangkok International Hospital has also introduced the Web Based EEG Monitor which allows close observation of epilepsy patients in an ICU environment. Doctors will have access to patient information 24/7 without the limitations of distance; this system will help improve the efficiency of treatment. Magnetic Resonance Imaging is also used for diagnosis: magnetic field and radio waves create pictures displayable on a monitor of tissues, organs and other structures within the body. Some people have epilepsy as a result of scar tissue in the brain after illness or brain injury and the MRI can help to show this. The procedure lasts approximately 1-2 hours. Specialists indicate that the best way to deal with epilepsy is early detection and treatment. This will help prevent further brain deterioration and return patients to a good quality of life sooner. “In rare cases where the patient does not respond to medication surgical treatment may be required. The Gamma Knife will be used to destroy the area causing epilepsy. However, most patients will only require medication to prevent seizures and restore electrical function in the brain”. Patients are also encouraged to be proactive in taking care of themselves; they should avoid sleep deprivation, nutrition deprivation,over exertion during exercise, alcohol consumption, and stress. Epilepsy is a condition that should not be ignored. People displaying symptoms should receive prompt diagnosis before their condition worsens.
Bangkok International Hospital Tel: 0 2310 3000 or 1719 (local calls only)