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Epilepsy, a serious neurological condition of having seizures, affects more than ½ million people in the UK. We all have the potential to have a seizure, but brain damage particularly from a severe head injury makes seizures more likely.
There are over 40 different types of epilepsy, which are difficult to diagnose as there are no obvious symptoms when someone is not having a seizure. Epileptic seizures can affect your awareness, feelings, movement or behaviour; many people will be confused during and after a seizure.
Someone who thinks they have epilepsy should see a neurologist who will carry out various investigations such as blood tests, Electroencephalograms or EEGs to record brain electrical activity and brain MRI scans. However, these tests cannot confirm or rule out epilepsy on their own.
Epilepsy treatment usually involves anti-epileptic drugs or AEDs. They are not a cure. They just make the brain less likely to have a seizure and work by reducing electrical activity of brain nerve cells. Apparently around 70% of people with epilepsy could control their seizures with the right medication, depending on their epilepsy type.
If seizures cannot be controlled by medication, brain surgery may be an option to remove the part of the brain that is causing seizures or separating it from the rest of the brain. Surgery will only be considered if there is a single physical cause for epilepsy, such as scarring or damage to the brain from a head injury, which is called the epileptic focus. Surgeons in deciding whether to operate will look at whether:
• they can reach the epileptic focus and remove it safely
• other brain areas may be affected by surgery, especially those that control speech, sight, movement or hearing.
Around 70% of people find that surgery stops their seizures.
Our brain injury solicitors have helped many people over the years who have suffered epilepsy or been at risk of developing epilepsy, following a head injury. So if you or a loved one is or may be affected by epilepsy following a head injury, please contact Andy Shaw or call us on 0800 073 0988 to see how we can help you.
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