Can epilepsy be completely cured if it first occurred at the age of 18? I do not want to live with seizures for the rest of my life.
The word “cure” is not yet in the epilepsy vocabulary, regardless of the age it began. But there is still quite a bit of good news for people with epilepsy. With the right medication and avoidance of things that trigger seizures, most patients can control the disease and experience few or no seizures.
Seizures are the main symptom of epilepsy. A seizure occurs when the brain’s normal transmission of electrical impulses is interrupted by what is described as a “storm” of electrical activity. The disturbance is sudden and brief. Depending on the nature of the seizure, it may cause alterations in consciousness, movement (muscle control), and/or loss of sensations, including vision and hearing.
Although there are more than a hundred possible causes of epilepsy, in the majority of cases, a cause is never found. Epilepsy of unknown cause, or idiopathic epilepsy, is more common among children and young teen-agers. A few of the possible causes are head injury, brain infections, brain tumors, lead poisoning and substance abuse. Treating the underlying cause can go a long way toward reducing seizures, although it is no guarantee that they will stop completely.
Epilepsy is usually treated with medication, which works effectively at controlling seizures more than 80 percent of the time. Several drugs are available and sometimes patient and doctor need to try different drugs, combinations and dosages before arriving at the best therapy with the least side effects.
Some people are able to identify certain triggers that may bring on a seizure. These may include sleep deprivation, stress, infections and others. Learning to recognize and avoid triggers (when they exist) in tandem with medication, is very useful at reducing the frequency of seizures. A patient who has been free of seizures for a few years may be able to begin reducing medication doses and perhaps eventually eliminate it. But any changes in epilepsy medicine can be dangerous and should be done in close consultation with your doctor.