Epilepsy is a common disorder of the nervous system. Many of the symptoms of this disorder have serious effects on the patient's physical health. Such symptoms include chronic confusion, uncontrollable jerking of limbs, and loss of consciousness. What may be considered as the worst among the various effects of epilepsy is brain damage.
The effects of epilepsy on a person's physical, psychological, and social quality of life depend on the type of seizure caused by the illness. There are two types of epilepsy based on the source of seizure within the brain: partial epilepsy and generalized epilepsy. These types are further divided depending on the extent of the seizure, its effect on the body, and its possible causes.
Generally, the effects of epilepsy are manifested in the day-to-day functioning of a patient. Seizures may occur during the most unexpected circumstances, such as when the patient is driving, swimming, or even doing household chores. Such an unprecedented seizure attack may cause physical injuries to the patient from falling and hitting objects nearby.
Epilepsy also often has a long-term effect on the patient's behavior and mental functioning. Children who suffer from epilepsy tend to have less developed learning faculties. Adults who suffer from the effects of epilepsy can develop depression.
Pregnant women who suffer from epilepsy are likely to experience a seizure during the course of the pregnancy. It is possible for the seizure to cause birth defects in unborn child. Epileptic patients are not usually advised against conceiving, but certain precautions can help ensure the health of both mother and child.
Long-term effects of epilepsy depend on the causes of the seizures. Children who suffer from idiopathic epilepsy may experience favorable long-term outcomes. It is reported that 68 to 92 percent of cases of childhood epilepsy end up with the patient seizure-free 20 years after the last occurrence of a seizure. Survival rates for these children are the same as those who have not been sick with epilepsy. In fact, cured epileptic patients are still able to maintain a normal lifespan.
Despite favorable long-term outcomes among children, the survival rate for other types of epilepsy still depend on the effectiveness of the medication or surgery that was administered to the patient to stop or lessen the seizures. The cause of seizures may also contribute to the survival rate. In that case, due diligence among the patient's caretakers can ensure that medications lessen the potentially fatal effects of epilepsy.