What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy (ep-i-lep-sy) is sometimes called a seizure disorder.
A seizure disorder is a kind of illness that only happens sometimes.
It's not the kind of illness that makes you feel sick inside.
It's not the kind of illness that makes you cough and sneeze.
It's not the kind of illness that means you have to stay in bed and have your temperature taken.
A child who has epilepsy feels just as healthy as everyone else most of the time. But sometimes she/he may have a seizure. This Website is all about seizures.
If you have epilepsy, it's good to find out as much as you can about it.
You'll know how your seizures happen.
You'll know how your medicine works and why you have to take it every day.
Then you can tell other boys and girls who might want to know.
If there's something on this Website that you don't understand, ask your mom or dad to explain it to you.
If you have a special question about your seizure disorder, ask your doctor about it when you go for your next check up.
How Seizures Happen
Seizures begin in the wonderful network of cells in your brain.
These cells are very, very small, but they make everything in your brain and body work.
They do it by sending little signals to each other, faster than you can imagine.
The signals flash all over your body so you can run and jump and do all the things you do every minute of every day.
Your brain cells are even hard at work while the rest of you is asleep.
Most of the time your brain cells work just the way they're supposed to work. You don't have to think about them. They just keep doing what they're supposed to do.
But if you have a seizure disorder it means that sometimes, for a very short time, they don't work quite the way they should.
For just a few seconds, or a minute or two, some of your brain cells send mixed up signals.
They stop the other cells from working properly, and your body gets mixed up messages.
- This could make your arm shake without you wanting it to shake.
- It could make things look, or sound, or feel strange to you - just for a moment.
- It could even make you stop and stare for a moment or two.
Sometimes those mixed up messages from your brain can make your whole body work in a mixed up way.
- They could make you fall down, get stiff, and then shake all over for a minute or two.
- They could make you move around as if you were half asleep.
All these changes in things you feel or do are called seizures.