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Epilepsy in children

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Epilepsy in children

Epilepsy affects all ages groups. But for children, a variety of issues exist that can affect one's childhood.

Some epilepsy ends after childhood. Some forms of epilepsy are associated only with conditions of childhood that cease once a child grows up.[1] Approximately 70% of children who suffer epilepsy during their childhood eventually outgrow it.[2] There are also some seizures, such as febrile seizures, that are one-time occurrences during childhood, and they do not result in permanent epilepsy.[3]

Effects

Education

Children with epilepsy generally have normal intelligence, which is no different from that of non-epileptics. But epilepsy can affect a child's education, thereby leading to trouble learning and lower grades. While many children are capable of functioning in a normal classroom environment, many end up in special education.[4]

The child may be forced to miss a lot of school due to seizures. The seizures can impair a child's ability to memorize learning materials.

Tonic-clonic seizures can have a serious impact on education due to the memory loss they cause, and the time needed to recover following the seizure causing there to be missed time in school.[5]

Absence seizures can have a high negative impact on a child's education. As they are less obvious than tonic-clonic seizures, they can occur many times within a single day, thereby resulting in the child's ability to learn being impaired, and leading to low grades.[6]

When seizures are controlled by a medication, many anticonvulsants have side effects that include drowsiness, thereby also impacting a child's education.

The high school graduation rate has been reported at 64%, compared with an overall national average of 82%.[7]

Social

The social stigma can stand in the way, as the child is more prone to bullying.[8]

Many children with epilepsy are overprotected by their parents, who do put restrictions on them in the name of safety, requiring more adult supervision than other children, and not allowing them to participate in certain activities normal to the age group, such as sports. It is a subject of debate if a child with controlled seizures needs additional protection or restrictions, or if the benefits outweigh the losses a child would face.[9][10]

Causes

The causes of epilepsy in childhood vary. In about ⅔ of cases, it is unknown.[11]

  • Unknown 67.6%
  • Congenital 20%
  • Trauma 4.7%
  • Injection 4%
  • Stroke 1.5%
  • Tumor 1.5%
  • Degenerative .7%

Treatment

Most children who develop epilepsy are treated conventionally with anticonvulsants. In about 70% of cases of childhood epilepsy, medication can completely control seizures.[12]

Medicating a child is not always easy. Many pills are made only to be swallowed, which can be difficult for a child. For some medications, chewable versions do exist.[13]

The ketogenic diet is used to treat children who have not responded successfully to other treatments. This diet is low in carbohydrates, adequate in protein and high in fat. It has proven successful in two thirds of epilepsy cases.[14][15]

In some cases, severe epilepsy is treated with the hemispherectomy, a drastic surgical procedure in which part or all of one of the hemispheres of the brain is removed.[16]

References

  1. ^ Epilepsy: A Guide to Balancing Your Life By Ilo E. Leppik: page 35
  2. ^ Epilepsy: Patient and Family Guide By Orrin Devinsky: page 6
  3. ^ Epilepsy: A Guide to Balancing Your Life By Ilo E. Leppik: page 36
  4. ^ Epilepsy: Patient and Family Guide By Orrin Devinsky: page 247-48
  5. ^ Epilepsy: A Guide to Balancing Your Life By Ilo E. Leppik: page 32
  6. ^ Epilepsy: A Guide to Balancing Your Life By Ilo E. Leppik: page 31
  7. ^ The treatment of epilepsy: principles & practice By Elaine Wyllie, Ajay Gupta, Deepak K. Lachhwani: page 1203
  8. ^ Epilepsy: The Ultimate Teen Guide By Kathlyn Gay, Sean McGarrahan: page 42
  9. ^ Epilepsy: 199 Answers: A Doctor Responds to His Patients' Questions By Andrew N. Wilner: page 104
  10. ^ Epilepsy: The Ultimate Teen Guide By Kathlyn Gay, Sean McGarrahan: page 44
  11. ^ Epilepsy: Patient and Family Guide By Orrin Devinsky: page 44
  12. ^ Epilepsy: Patient and Family Guide By Orrin Devinsky: page 6
  13. ^ Epilepsy: A Guide to Balancing Your Life By Ilo E. Leppik: page 43
  14. ^ Charlie Foundation - Ketogenic Diet FAQ
  15. ^ Epilepsy: 199 Answers: A Doctor Responds to His Patients' Questions By Andrew N. Wilner: page 100
  16. ^ "The Deepest Cut," The New Yorker.
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