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Can people with seizures live a normal life?

Q: I am 39 years old. After giving birth to my first child at the age of 18, I had numbness in my right foot which went up to the arm and then to the face. After two years, I had the same episode. I started having these episodes once awhile. Then I decided to see a neurologist who told me its migraine and put me on Nidlol for about a year. I started having it even more frequently. I asked him if I needed an EEG done because when I was young, a potful of coffee fell on my head and I started having seizures. It stopped at the age of four and I never had any until age 18 after giving birth to my first baby. The EEG showed epilepsy. I started taking Keppra and now I am on Depakote Er. 500 twice a day. In the beginning I had these only once every two or three years; then why am I having these more often? I am so scared and worried. Can people with seizures live normally?

A:Epilepsy is a condition in which a person has recurrent seizures, which are abnormal, disorderly discharging of the brains nerve cells, resulting in a temporary disturbance of motor, sensory, or mental function. There are many types of seizures, depending on what part of the brain is involved. The type of anticonvulsant drug selected by a doctor depends on factors such as seizure type, cost of the medicine and other medical conditions. The drug may need frequent adjustments, especially after starting medications and its levels require monitoring and other laboratory tests. Valproic acid is considered the drug of first choice for primary generalized epilepsy. It has a very wide spectrum and is effective in most seizure types. Carbamazepine (Tegretol) is an older anti-epileptic drug used as second-choice agent along with phenytoin. The phases of a woman's reproductive life (puberty, reproductive years, and menopause) may influence epilepsy and expression of seizures. Hormonal fluctuations during the normal menstrual cycle, especially increases in oestrogen, may trigger seizures. Changes in hormones during pregnancy may improve seizure control in some women while in others seizure frequency may increase. Little is known about the effect of menopause on seizures. One problem that patients face concerns whether and how much to restrict their activities of daily living. A balance has to be maintained between safety and the need to pursue employment, fulfil household responsibilities, and enjoy leisure activities and this is best achieved by common sense. If a person has rare or fully controlled seizures, most activities can be safely pursued but those who have frequent seizures with impairment of consciousness and a period of confusion afterward, certain activities must be restricted, with the hope that the restrictions can be lifted when seizure control improves. Try not to let epilepsy undermine your self-esteem or use it as an excuse to avoid new people or situations. I would advise you to go to the following website, which will provide you useful information: www.epilepsy.org.uk/intro/living.html

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