Epilepsy is a group of neurological disorders whose primary distinguishing feature are seizures. These seizures can be brief or extended. The exact cause of epilepsy remains unknown, but cases have been recorded throughout history. Julius Caesar, Socrates, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Vladimir Lenin, Neil Young and Prince are all famous people to have epilepsy.
Recurrent seizures are the most obvious symptom of epilepsy, the most common of which are convulsive seizures, some 60 percent of all seizure incidents. The remaining 40 percent are non-convulsive, generally characterized by decreased levels of consciousness. Partial seizures can be preceded by an aura, a perceptual disturbance. Following a seizure, there is generally a period of confusion known as the postictal period.
It is believed that epilepsy has both genetic and acquired causes. Known acquired causes of epilepsy may include brain trauma, stroke, or tumors. When seizures result from other health problems, this is not epilepsy, but rather seizure-related disorders.
Actual diagnosis of epilepsy can be difficult, as many other conditions present similar symptoms, including seizures. Management is done through daily medication, generally an anticonvulsant. Some epileptics must take medicine throughout their life, but has a tendency to control seizures in about 70 percent of all cases.