3 things you need to know about childhood epilepsy

Do you know what the causes and symptoms of childhood epilepsy are? Find out here

3 things you need to know about childhood epilepsy

Epilepsy is a disorder of the neurological system that can occur to anyone regardless of sex and race, including age. In fact, this is one of the "most common neurological disorders", as explained by the World Health Organization (WHO), which can suffer children for various reasons. This is known as childhood epilepsy.

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According to Boston Children's Hospital, "epilepsy is a complex condition that makes a child susceptible to seizures." Seizures are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the brain: some parts of the brain get too excited and shoot too many electrical signals. For any mother or father, thinking that your child suffers from epilepsy can be frightening. Especially since this disorder can affect children both physically and mentally.

On the one hand, the child may be injured in any of the convulsive episodes. On the other hand, this disorder can generate changes in their personality and behavior, as the hospital page explains. According to the international body, they may even suffer from depression and anxiety.

Here you will find everything you need to know about childhood epilepsy, the causes and symptoms, and what to do.

1. Causes

According to WHO, Boston Children's Hospital, and Mayo Clinic, we could all suffer from epilepsy at any stage of our lives due to causes such as:

  • Brain damage due to cerebrovascular accidents that cause, as a result, that oxygen does not reach the brain.
  • Cranioencephalic trauma caused by a severe blow to the head
  • Infections by viruses or parasites that cause diseases such as meningitis and encephalitis (severe inflammation of the brain), or neurocysticercosis
  • Brain tumors, which generates seizures

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In the case of the youngest children, these are also some of the reasons why your child could suffer from this disorder:

  • Brain damage caused by difficulties during pregnancy or during birth, such as asphyxia or trauma
  • Congenital malformations, such as hydrocephalus (excess fluid in the cavities or ventricles of the brain)
  • Genetics or inheritance
  • Problems in the metabolism. Diabetes is an example of this
  • Developmental disorders, such as autism

2. Symptoms

As well as the causes, the symptoms of this disorder are also varied. As you know, epilepsy is a seizure. However, these seizures are of different types. "Epilepsy can involve many different types of seizures: some are easy to recognize, when your child's body trembles and becomes temporarily less conscious, other seizures have no obvious external signal at all", says Boston Children's Hospital.

So, how do you know if a child suffers from epilepsy? According to this website and WHO, some of the symptoms that the child may also present are

  • Loss of consciousness or control of the sphincters
  • Stiffness in the body or breathing problems
  • He has no awareness of his surroundings or seems to be confused
  • His mood may also change, and he may feel drowsy or irritated
  • His senses and movements also change

3. What to do?

If you think your child may have epilepsy, it is necessary that you take him to an appointment with the neurologist. He will determine, through various tests, whether he has this disease or not. If this is the case, doctor will give his diagnosis about the type of epilepsy that the child has. This can be of two types, which also depends on the type of convulsive episode, that is, if it is mild or severe:

  • Partial or focal onset, which is characterized by a seizure that begins in a part of the brain
  • Generalized, which is characterized by an alteration of brain activity that starts on both sides of the brain

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Later, doctor will give the appropriate treatment that must be followed, which also varies. This can be from medications, a change in diet or surgery, to a non-invasive brain treatment, as mentioned by Boston Children's Hospital.

According to a report from the Ministry of Health of Colombia, entitled "Clinical Practice Guideline (GPC) on diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy", it is important that both children and parents are educated on this subject and empowered. This is because epilepsy is a stigmatized disease, so it is important that you keep in mind all the necessary information about this disorder and how to handle it.


LatinAmerican Post | Diana Rojas Leal
Translated from “3 cosas que tienes que saber sobre la epilepsia infantil ”



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