EPILOIA
E
TREATMENT
W hile
a
seizure
is
happening,
any
witnesses should make the surrounding
area safe
(for example, by removing
hazardous objects) and ensure that the
person can breathe w hile unconscious.
Clothing around the neck should be
loosened, and a soft item, such as a
folded piece
of clothing, should be
placed
under
the
head.
Otherwise,
witnesses should simply let the attack
run its course. Once the convulsions
have stopped,
the person should be
placed in the
recovery position
.
A person
having
a
seizure
should
never
be
restrained, and should never have any-
thing put into his or her mouth.
Anticonvulsant drugs
usually stop or
reduce
the
frequency
of
recurrent
seizures. The drugs may have unpleasant
side effects, however, so the doctor w ill
take care to find the one drug that
works best for that patient. W ith very
severe epilepsy, a combination of drugs
may be needed to control seizures. If no
seizures occur after two or three years
of treatment, and depending on their
cause, the doctor may suggest reducing
or stopping the drug treatment.
Women
who
are
taking
anticon-
vulsant
drugs
and
are
planning
a
pregnancy w ill need to have their treat-
ment reviewed before conceiving. They
may need to change to another drug to
reduce the risk of a fetal abnormality.
Stopping treatment is not usually an
option because seizures can be pro-
foundly damaging to the fetus.
Surgery may be considered if a sin-
gle area of damage to the brain is
causing the seizures and drug treat-
ment has not proved effective.
OUTLOOK
Epilepsy that develops during child-
hood may sometimes disappear soon
after adolescence.
Affected adults can enjoy relatively
normal lives, but may be restricted in
their choice of work. For example, it is
inadvisable for people with epilepsy to
have occupations involving heights or
operating
dangerous
machinery.
In
addition, there are certain restrictions
on driving vehicles (see
driving, health
and
) .
People with epilepsy are legally
required to contact their vehicle licens-
ing
agency,
who
w ill
explain
the
relevant restrictions.
Many people with epilepsy carry a
special card, tag, or bracelet, such as
those produced by
Medic-Alert
,
w hich
states
that
they have
the
condition.
Affected people should also advise their
family, friends, and colleagues what to
do if a seizure occurs.
epiloia
See
tuberous sclerosis
.
epinephrine
An alternative name for
adrenaline
.
EpiPen
A brand name for an assembled needle
and syringe containing a dose of
adren-
aline
(epinephrine)
that
is
used
for
rapid administration to prevent or treat
life-threatening allergic reactions
(see
anaphylactic
shock
).
The
EpiPen
is
designed for people who are prone to
such reactions to use on themselves; it
delivers the adrenaline directly into a
muscle, usually a thigh muscle.
Anyone known to be at risk of an
anaphylactic reaction should carry an
EpiPen with them at all times and be
taught how to administer it. An affected
person’s family, as well as other close
contacts, such as teachers, colleagues,
and friends, should also be aware of
how to use the EpiPen.
epiphora
See
watering eye
.
epiphyseal fracture
A fracture (break) at the point where
the epiphysis (the end section of a long
bone) meets the diaphysis (the main
shaft of the bone). This type of break
may affect the subsequent growth of
the fractured bone.
epiphyseal plate
The disc that separates the
epiphysis
(the
end section of a long bone) from the
dia-
physis
(the main shaft of the bone).
During the period of growth, the epi-
physeal plate is composed of
cartilage
(connective tissue formed of collagen).
This cartilage is gradually replaced by
bone as a result of
ossification
,
a process
by w hich cartilage cells multiply and
absorb
calcium
to develop into bone.
epiphysis
The end section of a long bone (such as
the femur in the legs, or the humerus in
the arms) that is separated from the dia-
physis (the main shaft of the bone) by
the
epiphyseal plate
.
Problems that affect the epiphysis or
the epiphyseal plate during the period
of growth, such as inflammation
(a
condition called epiphysitis), may retard
the growth of the affected bone and
cause it to become deformed.
epiphysis, slipped
See
femoral epiphysis, slipped
.
episcleritis
A
localized
patch
of
inflammation
that affects
the
outermost
layers
of
the
sclera
(white of the eye) in an area
immediately underneath the
conjunctiva
(the transparent membrane that covers
the sclera).
Episcleritis is usually
of unknown
cause and mainly affects middle-aged
men. It may, at times, be a complication
of
rheumatoid arthritis
. T h e
inflammation
may cause a dull, aching pain and there
may be
photophobia
(abnormal sensitiv-
ity of the eyes to light).
The disorder usually disappears by
itself within a week or so, but it may
recur. Symptoms may be relieved by
using
eye-drops
or ointment containing
a
corticosteroid drug
.
episiotomy
A surgical procedure in w hich an inci-
sion is made in the
perineum
(the tissue
between the vagina and the anus) in
278
previous page 277 BMA A Z Family Medical Encyclopedia   2004 read online next page 279 BMA A Z Family Medical Encyclopedia   2004 read online Home Toggle text on/off