Epilepsy is a disorder characterized by recurring seizures. Diagnosis is typically made when a person has had two or more seizures.
Seizures are a result of disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain.
There are many causes including genetics, traumatic brain injury, stroke and brain tumors. Epilepsy is termed as ‘idiopathic” when the specific cause cannot be identified.
There are two major groups: focal seizures and generalized seizures. The difference between the two is how and when they begin in the brain.
Focal seizures involve activity limited to only one area of the brain:
- Simple or Partial Focal – affects a small part of the brain without affecting consciousness or awareness. They may alter emotions, smell, feel, taste, sound. Involuntary jerking or sensory symptoms may also occur.
- Complex or Partial Focal – similar to simple focal, but also involves impaired consciousness.
Generalized seizures involve widespread activity in both sides of the brain:
- Tonic-clonic or grand mal – involves body convulsions. Muscles will stiffen (tonic phase) and the body will jerk and twitch rhythmically (clonic phase).
- Absence seizures or petit mal – a milder, brief type of activity that causes unconsciousness without convulsions.
Here are two case studies:
A 52-year-old male
- Has a history of childhood idiopathic epilepsy with mild absence type seizures that started at age eight.
- Controlled with medication which was stopped at age 20.
- There have been no seizures since.
- Offer: Preferred
- He began having complex seizures at age 26.
- His MRI was negative.
- For the past five years he has been maintained on two drugs with an average of five seizures per year.
- Does not drink alcohol.
- Offer: Low substandard
Call our Life Underwriting Team to discuss the specific details of your client’s seizure or epilepsy history. Let’s work together to get the offer you need!