Epilepsy In Toddlers - 9 Causes & 7 symptoms You Should Be Aware Of

Epilepsy In Toddlers

Image : Shutterstock

Does your toddler suffer from seizures? Is the fact that your toddler often seems oblivious to your voice, worrying you? Well, if you can relate your toddler to the above situations it is time to give epilepsy a thought!

Epilepsy is synonymous with sudden seizures. Watching your toddler suffer from such a condition may be your worst nightmare. Want to know more about its causes, symptoms, and treatment? Go ahead and give this post a read!

What Is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy or Falling sickness is a disorder of the central nervous system. It affects both adults and children alike. Due to this disease, people become more susceptible to recurrent seizures.

What Is A Seizure?

There are millions of neurons in the brain that send out electric impulses. During a seizure, a large number of neurons send out electrical impulses all at the same time, which results in the production of an abnormal and intense electric wave that overwhelms the brain. [1]

What Are The Causes Of Epilepsy?

Epilepsy can trigger due to the following causes: [2]

  1. A brain infection like meningitis or encephalitis
  2. Fever
  3. Birth trauma
  4. Congenital conditions such as benign neonatal convulsions
  5. Head injury
  6. Brain malformation due to cerebral dysplasia or dysgenesis
  7. Lack of oxygen at the time of birth can cause hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy
  8. Low levels of glucose, calcium, and sodium in the blood
  9. Developmental disorders such as autism and neurofibromatosis

What Are The Symptoms Of Epilepsy?

Some of the common symptoms of epilepsy include the following:

  1. Muscle spasms that may include jerking or stiffening of the arms and legs
  2. Loss of consciousness
  3. Excessive blinking and staring
  4. Respiratory problems
  5. Unresponsiveness to noise or voice for a brief period
  6. Loss of bladder and bowel control
  7. Nodding of the head due to loss of awareness

When To Seek Medical Help?

Rush your toddler to a doctor in the following situations:

  • If the seizure lasts longer than five minutes
  • Breathing or consciousness does not return after the seizure stops
  • Your toddler suffers from a second seizure immediately
  • If your toddler has a high fever
  • Your toddler sustains an injury during a seizure

What Are The Possible Risks Associated With Epilepsy?

Epilepsy can increase the risk of drowning, choking and head injuries due to a fall the patient may suffer during a seizure.

How To Diagnose Epilepsy In Toddlers?

The doctor may advise the following tests to diagnose epilepsy in toddlers: [3]

  • An electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure the electrical activity in the brain.
  • He may suggest a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a computerized tomography (CAT) scan to look at the images of the brain.

What Is The Treatment For Epilepsy?

Some of the popular methods of treating epilepsy include the following:

1. Anticonvulsant Medications:

The doctor may prescribe the following drugs: [4]

  • Phenobarbital
  • Valproic Acid (Depakene, Depakote)
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin)

Remember, you need to follow the doctor’s prescription strictly to keep the threat of seizures at bay. Your child must regularly go for blood tests in order to ensure that the level of these drugs in his blood is within a safe range. These anticonvulsant drugs have side effects, and you should share your concerns with your doctor.

2. Ketogenic Diet:

Doctors recommend the intake of a high-fat, low-carbohydrate and low-protein diet to prevent and cure epilepsy. The diet increases the production of ketones in the body, a compound that improves seizure control. [5]

3. Surgery:

The doctor may recommend a brain surgery if the frequency and intensity of seizures are very high. It may either require a removal of circumcised temporal lobe or hemispherectomy, an intensive surgical removal of half the brain.

4. Vagal Nerve Simulator:

The doctor may also suggest implanting a vagal nerve stimulator, an electrical device that runs on a battery, below the collarbone.

Now you know more about epilepsy in toddlers. Why wait? Go ahead and spread the word.

Did your toddler suffer from epilepsy? What treatment did the doctor advice? Please share your experience and advice with us in the comments box below.