Epilepsy is a chronic condition marked by recurrent seizures. An epileptic seizure may be one of several types, each depending on where in the brain it originates. A seizure that involves both halves of the brain is called a generalised seizure. Two of the more common types are complex partial seizures and generalised tonic-clonic seizures. Complex partial seizures are characterised by a change in awareness, called an aura or warning, which is followed by a blank stare and confusion. People with tonic-clonic seizures, also known as convulsions, experience loss of consciousness with a stiffening and jerking of the body. Regardless of the type, all seizures are triggered by a sudden burst of electrical activity in the brain. About 1% of people have epilepsy, or roughly 50 million individuals worldwide, including 1 in 240 children younger than 16.
In most diagnosed cases of epilepsy, doctors are unable to pinpoint a cause. In about a third of the cases, the onset of epileptic seizures is linked to congenital defects, stroke, brain trauma, a tumor, or infection.
A physician typically diagnoses someone with epilepsy only if they are having recurrent seizures, and tests exclude other physical causes. Although there is no single test that determines whether or not you have epilepsy, brain imaging with CT or MRI scans, and brain wave analysis with an EEG, are the tests most commonly performed to diagnose the possible cause and type of epilepsy. The type and severity of seizures vary from person to person, so a diagnosis is often based on the patient's own description of the condition, or that of someone who witnesses the seizures.
Drug therapy is the most common epilepsy treatment. There is no cure for epilepsy, but anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) reduce the number and severity of seizures. In some cases, medication may eliminate seizures altogether.
Drug Resistant Epilepsy
About 30% of the estimated 50 million people worldwide diagnosed with epilepsy find that their condition is resistant to drug therapy. Drug resistant epilepsy is a serious medical disorder. Although there are alternative epilepsy treatments, they have, until recently, involved surgery. The most popular of these, vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), requires surgically implanting a stimulation device in a patient's chest that is connected to an electrode placed around the left vagus nerve in the neck.
The Monarch eTNS System for Epilepsy
The Monarch external Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation (eTNS) system is safe and convenient, offering users a non-invasive treatment that is effective in reducing or eliminating seizures. The stimulator is small enough for a pocket, to wear on the waist, or set on a nightstand.
If you are interested in trying eTNS for yourself or a loved one, please contact us online and a Monarch representative will be in touch with you. You can also to get answers now.