Printer Friendly

Epilepsy in childhood.

Mackay M. 2006. Epilepsy in childhood and adolescence. MedToday 7:4;33-41.

Epilepsy affects approximately 1% of children and adolescents, with the highest incidence occurring in the first year of life. An epileptic seizure is caused by an abnormal synchronized electrical discharge from neurons. In children it is important to determine whether it is provoked by a head trauma, hypoglycemia or an electrolyte disturbance. A single seizure does not constitute a diagnosis of epilepsy.

Taking a careful history is crucial to making a correct diagnosis. Was there pain or fear, was the child standing or sitting for a long period suggesting postural hypotension. In infants and preschoolers, breath holding spells can be mistaken for seizures. Breath holding can be associated with iron deficiency. Tics and sleep myclonus can be mistaken for seizures.

General treatment includes avoidance of precipitating factors such as sleep deprivation. Parents should be counseled about taking safety precautions, particularly supervising their children when bathing or swimming. Seizures rarely last more than 3 minutes and parents should be reassured that short seizures do not cause brain damage.

Anticonvulsant medications are usually commenced after two or more unprovoked afebrile seizures. About 20 to 30% of children do not respond to treatment. Surgery offers the best hope for these patients. Other treatment options include the ketogenic diet, brain stimulation and immunotherapies.

Childhood epilepsy generally has a good prognosis, with around two thirds of patients responding to treatment and more than half ultimately outgrowing their epilepsy.

Anne Cowper

PO Box 45, Concord West NSW 2138

COPYRIGHT 2007 National Herbalists Association of Australia
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Cowper, Anne
Publication:Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Mar 22, 2007
Previous Article:Melanoma.
Next Article:AJMH based CPE questionnaire.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters