Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes recurring seizures. These seizures are caused by the abnormal electrical activity in the brain of the person experiencing the seizure. Epilepsy can be caused by illness, injury or genetic predisposition, however the specific causes for all types of epilepsy are still not completely understood.
Because epilepsy is a disorder of the central nervous system, it can affect a variety of different organs of the body. The physical effects of a seizure can be mild or severe, depending on the type of seizure. For instance, a generalized tonic-clonic seizure can involve sudden jerkiness and loss of control of the muscles, while a focal seizure may involve a loss of awareness and rapid eye movements.
Experiencing prolonged or recurring seizures can have long-term effects on your body. Here are three ways the seizures caused by epilepsy can affect your body.
1. Heart and Breathing Problems
Shortness of breath and coughing can arise when epileptic seizures interfere with breathing and the heart’s rhythm. Choking can also occur in rare cases. Over the long term, this can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
2. Your Digestive Health
Digestive problems such as heartburn, nausea and vomiting can be caused both by a seizure or by some of the medications used to treat seizures. Abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhea can also occur due to seizure activity or as a side-effect of the drugs used to treat epilepsy.
3. Pregnancy and Child Birth
Most women with epilepsy have healthy pregnancies, however they are at greater risk for hypertension than women without it. Women with epilepsy are also at risk for delivering underweight and stillborn babies. Because of this, it’s important for the pregnancy to be closely monitored by doctors and medical staff.