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Children's epilepsy: what parents need to know?

Epilepsy is one of widespread neurologic diseases. Parents, whose children suffer from this illness, should face rumors and delusions, many of which remained since the Middle Ages.

Collecting statistics on epilepsy at children is complicated by the fact that not each child with epileptic seizures gets on the account to an epileptolog. Nevertheless, by approximate estimates, about 5% of children have epilepsy. In total in the world more than 50 million people are subject to this disease, and 80% from them live in the countries with average and low income level per capita.

Эпилепсия у детей: самые распространенные мифы

To learn from the doctor that the child is sick with epilepsy – hard testing for parents. Let's try to understand what statements concerning epilepsy are truthful and what them them are delusions.

Statement 1: At epilepsy there is always a loss of consciousness, and spasms develop

It's not true. Epilepsy has a set of the forms. It is conditionally possible to divide them into three categories:

  • Partial attacks;
  • Generalized attacks;
  • Not classified attacks.

At partial attacks the child can be in consciousness or experience consciousness disturbance. Manifestations depend on in what site of a brain the striking center is located. Sometimes partial attacks are shown by short-term numbness of fingers, feeling of the creeping goosebumps, hallucinations.

Generalized attacks are the closest according to the description to those symptoms which are known to most of people. That option when the patient falls, rolls up eyes, it has spasms and there is a foam from a mouth, is called a toniko-clonic attack. However so-called small attacks – absentias epileptica are not less widespread among children. They proceed only several seconds therefore if the child sits at this time or lies, he does not manage to fall. For the time being it remains unnoticed by parents: it seems that the child just strong thought of something.

At last, some attacks – including the spasms of newborns, febrile spasms, spasms arising at acute metabolic disorders – do not belong neither to partial, nor to generalized to epilepsy forms.

Statement 2: Frequency of attacks depends on the level of excitement of the person

Scientists study many years the provocative factors exerting impact on emergence of attacks. Such correlation, undoubtedly, quite often exists: for example, at some children flashing or blinking of the screen of the monitor can provoke an attack. However it is impossible to reveal accurate interrelation in most cases, as well as to foresee the frequency of attacks.

If big attacks are rather rare and after them the child, as a rule, falls asleep, then the quantity of absentias epileptica can reach several tens and even hundred a day. Problems of full-fledged life of people with epilepsy in society are in many respects connected with unpredictability of attacks: they can overtake the person on the street, in the bus, in the pool or in operating time.

Statement 3: People with epilepsy long do not live

It is substitution of concepts, and parents should understand it. Epilepsy in itself does not lead to death and does not influence life expectancy, however the risk of traumatism at it very increases. Therefore it is extremely important that all people who surround the child – not only parents and relatives, but also tutors in kindergarten and teachers at school knew how it is correct to behave during an attack at the child to reduce probability of traumatizing.

Statement 4: Epilepsy inevitably conducts to mental retardation

It is the second reason of fears of parents after fear of possible death of the child. To think that the kid will never be able to become the full-fledged member of society, insufferably and it is often accompanied by sense of shame.

Meanwhile became history many people which in this or that form had epilepsy. Peter I, Guy Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Gustave Flaubert, Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Paganini is not all list of the celebrities which had epilepsy. And still, according to historians, the apostle Pavel had epilepsy.

Nevertheless, epilepsy can really exert a negative impact on development of the child: at each attack in a cerebral cortex a part of neurons perishes. It is the most reasoned argument in favor of early treatment: attacks need to be stopped! If parents refuse to treat the child, it can lead to irreversible effects. At adequate therapy and reduction of quantity of attacks the child will be able to attend kindergarten, school and institute on an equal basis with healthy children.

Эпилепсия неизбежно ведет к умственной отсталости: правда или миф?

Statement 5: Epilepsy is not treated

It is a lie. In most cases (70%) she is treated extremely successfully. Moreover, children have an opportunity "to outgrow" the disease and if attacks do not renew after cancellation of anticonvulsant drugs, then the child will be struck off the register at an epileptolog. However it depends on the form of a disease and the reasons which caused it.

It is impossible to waste precious time and to try to cure the kid at sorcerers, folk healers, "grandmothers" and other adherents of nonconventional medicine. It is necessary to address the neurologist immediately, after emergence of the first attacks in any their manifestation. The main reliable inspection is the brain electroencephalography allowing to record flashes of pathological activity.

The child is not able to understand what happens to him – he does not remember the attacks and what happened to it at this time. However if reaction of adults is inadequate, he can become reserved over time and consider the disease something shameful, hesitating of peers and evading from communication with them. In forces of parents to provide comfortable and normal life to the child, without focusing attention to his diseases, but at the same time having provided the corresponding treatment.

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