Unlike other types of epilepsy, nocturnal epilepsy is very unique that it occurs only at night or while a person is sleeping. Considering that nocturnal epilepsy doesn’t attack when the person is conscious, the majority of people having such condition are not aware of it. After having a night seizure, the individual typically gets into a deep sleep. Additionally, some individuals who might observe this might mistaken this as usual movements at sleep and wouldn’t reckon that the person is actually having a night seizure..
One means to diagnose this disorder is through running a test called Electroencephalogram (EEG), whereby the activity of the brain is evaluated from specialized sensors called electrodes which are affixed in the head. The physician, will then, determines whether the person is having nocturnal epilepsy or some other sleeping disorders by examining the EEG test results.
In comparison to daytime seizures, nocturnal seizures are in some way less threatening. Considering that individuals happen to be lying down when experiencing nocturnal epilepsy, there is less probability of injuries. In contrast to the possible implications of daytime seizures like patients can suddenly pass out and fall into the ground, etc. On the other hand, patients can’t avoid to have minimal concussions when they are experiencing nighttime seizures as they might hit their head on the headboard, or the wall near the bed.
The seizures linked to nocturnal epilepsy are gran mal or tonic-clonic seizures. A gran mal seizure happens in two stages. The tonic phase is the first phase which would last for only a matter of seconds. It occurs if the individual loses his awareness and muscles get to be tense. During the seizure, air will be quickly expelled from the lungs of the patient which in turn produces loud vocal sounds. After that, the second phase or clonic phase takes place when the there is already the presence of convulsions, that could range from light muscular twitches to violent shaking of the body, as muscles rapidly relax and contract.
There is a strange condition which starts during childhood years and is also a special kind of nocturnal epilepsy known as autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy (ADNFLE). As a child goes through brief and severe seizures during sleep, it is usually mistaken as night terrors. This case of ADNFLE is brought on by malfunction in thalamocortical loops, which are fibers between the thalamus and cerebral cortex.
The standard management of nocturnal epilepsy is using anti-epileptic medicines as maintenance medications. Surgery would be another choice in cases that there is a resistance to the drugs. Still, trigger avoidance and diet changes can reduce the occurrence of seizures especially the ones linked to nocturnal epilepsy.
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