EPILEPSY UNIT HOSPITAL DEL MAR

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which a person has a predisposition to suffer epileptic seizures repeated over time. Epileptic seizures are episodes of uncontrolled, sudden and abnormal brain electrical activity that can manifest in different ways depending on which region of the brain they affect. 

Classification of epilepsies

Epilepsies are classified as generalized and focal. The first ones are those in which the seizures originate in extensive bilateral areas of the brain while the focal ones initiate in a localized area of ​​some lobe. 

Types of epileptic seizures

Epileptic seizures are classified according to whether they originate in a focus of the brain (partial) or in extensive (generalized) regions. Generalized type epilepsies include tonic-clonic seizures, absences, myoclonic, tonic, and atonic seizures.

Focal seizures include those with unconscious manifestations (formerly called simple focal), those that affect consciousness (cognitive, previously called complex focal), and secondarily generalized. 

Epidemiology of epilepsy

Epilepsy affects between 0.5 and 1% of the population. In this way it is estimated that in Spain there may be about 400,000 epileptic patients. The number of patients debuting with epilepsy is approximately 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitant per year. 

Fortunately, more than 70% of epileptic patients are fully controlled with antiepileptic drugs. However, the remaining 30% remain with crisis so it is called drug-resistant.

In these patients it is always indicated to perform a prolonged Video-EEG monitoring, a special brain resonance for epilepsy and often also a cognitive evaluation. 

In many patients with focal drug-resistant epilepsies there is the possibility of total cure through surgery. Therefore, in the case of remaining patients with seizures should always be referred to an Epilepsy Unit with preoperative diagnostic capacity. 

Living With Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a chronic disease and living with it involves certain changes in patients' lifestyle. The seizures cause an increased risk of accidents and other forms of complications that must be discussed with the specialist. 



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