Epilepsy in infants is seen in recurrent seizures. So, what are the signs of epilepsy in babies and how is it diagnosed? Is epilepsy a curable disease? All the details you are wondering about are in our article!
What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is the occurrence of recurrent seizures due to a chronic disorder in the brain.
A seizure is defined as sudden, temporary and involuntary changes in physical movements and consciousness. The type and severity of the seizure, and in which body part it occurs, are related to the affected area of the brain. These seizures are also called convulsions. The definition of remittance and seizure can be used interchangeably.
Seizures have been divided into two groups as “grand mal epilepsy” and “petit mal epilepsy” in the past, but the new classifications are more specific. Seizures can range from involuntary shaking of the whole body to momentary loss of consciousness.
An epileptic seizure is a temporary dysfunction and does not indicate brain damage.
What causes epilepsy in babies?
Anything that can cause an abnormal electrical discharge in the brain can trigger epilepsy. Causes of epilepsy in infants;
- head trauma,
- Genetic predisposition,
- Brain infections such as meningitis,
- metabolic disorder,
- brain damage during fetal development,
- severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar),
- Rarely, there may be a tumor.
The cause cannot be determined in half of those who have epileptic seizures.
In sleep-related epileptic seizures, epilepsy can disrupt the structure and quality of sleep. Problems such as difficulty falling asleep or waking up after falling asleep, excessive sleepiness during the day, fatigue and lack of attention can be seen in epilepsy babies.
What are the symptoms of epilepsy in babies?
- contraction of the whole body,
- Eyes looking at a fixed place,
- Locking of the jaw,
- Foaming at the mouth is the main symptom of epilepsy. However, these are usually seen in large seizures.
The upward squinting of the eyes in babies is one of the most common conditions during an epileptic seizure. Mothers whose babies have epilepsy should be especially careful to keep the head straight so that the baby’s head does not hit the ground when faced with such a situation.
There are also symptoms seen in small epileptic seizures that are difficult to recognize and last for a short time. You may have trouble noticing these, they require a little more attention. Specifically, the symptoms of epilepsy in infants are as follows:
- Sudden jumping and closing in the arms, legs and head area,
- Frequent waking at night
- Sudden headaches.
How is epilepsy diagnosed in babies?
Epilepsy in infants is most common between 0-1 years of age. Because of these early symptoms, how to understand epilepsy, especially in 3-month-old babies, is a frequently asked question. In order to make the diagnosis, the doctor must know the first seizure in detail. For this;
- What happened before the seizure?
- How did the boy look?
- How long did the seizure last?
Their questions need to be answered. To take a video of your child when he has an epileptic seizure; It is useful for your doctor to record information such as the number, day, time and duration of seizures. In addition to these, in order to make a full diagnosis;
- Brain imaging (MRI),
- Blood tests that the neurologist deems necessary may need to be done.
In some cases, it may be requested to take fluid from the spinal cord to investigate causes such as meningitis, which is an infection of the membranes that surround the brain. As a result of all these, it is possible to diagnose epilepsy in infants.
If no cause or explanation for the epileptic seizure can be found, it should be investigated by pediatric neurologists, who are specialists in the nervous system.
Conditions confused with epilepsy in infants
The symptoms of epilepsy in the baby can be confused with different disorders in the early period, and it may later turn out that the main problem of the baby is not epilepsy.
- Reflux, which is manifested by vomiting and convulsions of the child in infancy ,
- Breath-holding spells (contraction and bruising in the body),
- Cardiac syncope,
- Fainting as a result of hypoglycemia or hypotension attacks,
Does epilepsy go away in babies?
The vast majority of epileptic children respond well to medications and their epileptic seizures are controlled. It is assumed that those who do not have seizures for at least 2 years and have no other neurological problems recover, the drugs are tapered off. Sudden discontinuation of medications can lead to recurrence of epileptic seizures.
Different types of epilepsy can be seen in every age group. It is possible to get rid of epilepsy completely in babies with a high rate of 70-80%.
Is development normal in babies with epilepsy?
With appropriate support and treatment, most epileptic babies become successful and healthy adults. You don’t have to worry about your baby’s development.
How is epilepsy treated in babies?
Epileptic seizures in infants often stop on their own and do not require immediate medical treatment.
- If your child has convulsions, you should lay him on his side with his hips higher than his head to prevent him from hurting himself. This way, if he vomits, you will prevent him from choking.
- If epilepsy treatment is carried out regularly, the frequency of seizures can be reduced by drugs.
- In cases where medications do not work, surgery can also be performed. However, for this, epileptic seizures must originate from a certain region and the area to be removed must not be related to language or vision functions.
- Occasionally, special diets rich in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates are recommended.
In which situations is epilepsy dangerous in children?
If the epileptic attack does not stop within 2-3 minutes or is severe in a way that you are not accustomed to before, you should take your child to the hospital urgently and never leave him alone.
- difficulty in breathing,
- bruising in skin color,
- Situations such as having several seizures in a row are inconvenient.
What should be considered in epileptic babies?
- During an epileptic attack in infants, nothing should be put into the mouth. Also, you shouldn’t shake your baby.
- Epileptic children are in the highest risk group for choking. Because there is a possibility of seizures in the pool or at sea. No matter how old your child is and how well he swims, you should always be present in such situations.
- You should pay extra attention to your child as they are more likely to be injured during play. Those with epilepsy are more likely to be injured. But don’t interfere with her playing like other children. He also has the right to run games and ride a bike.
- Restrict only activities that your doctor finds objectionable.