There is a ton of misinformation and lack of knowledge about Epilepsy and people that are living with Epilepsy. Since November is Epilepsy awareness month, I thought now is as good a time as any to share some facts that I have learned about Epilepsy.
Epilepsy is not:
- Epilepsy is NOT contagious.
- Epilepsy is NOT mental illness.
- Epilepsy is NOT mental retardation.
- An equal opportunity life changer, it can affect children, adults, seniors, men and woman, people of all races, religions, ethnic backgrounds, and social classes at any time.
- The most prevalent serious neurological disorder of childhood and the third most common neurological disorder in the United States after Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.
- Equal in prevalence to cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease combined.
- Currently affecting more than 326,000 children under the age of fifteen in the United States.
- A family of more than 40 syndromes that affects more than 3 million people in the U.S. and 50 million worldwide.
Truths about Epilepsy:
1 - Epilepsy is sometimes called a seizure disorder; some people with epilepsy do not even know they have it because they’ve been told they have a seizure disorder instead. This unfortunate euphemism arose because of the stigma associated with epilepsy, a stigma that the Epilepsy Foundation and others are fighting to dispel.
2 – A SEIZURE has a wide variety of possible symptoms, depending on what parts of the brain are involved. They are caused by intermittent electrical and chemical disturbances in the brain. Many, if not all, types of seizures cause loss of awareness and some cause twitching or shaking of the body. Some seizures may be hard to recognize because they consist of staring spells that can easily go unnoticed. Occasionally, seizures can cause temporary changes in sensation or vision. Some seizures cause a loss of consciousness. Sometime the brain remains aware but the body does things that can’t be controlled, muscle movement such as twitching that might spread up or down an arm or leg, muscle tension/tightening that causes twisting of the body, head, arms, or legs.
3 - The mortality rate among people with epilepsy is two to three times higher—and the risk of sudden death is 24 times greater—than that of the general population. This year an estimated 25,000 to 50,000 will die of seizures and related causes, including status epilepticus (non-stop seizures), sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), drowning and other accidents.
4 - The leading non-medical problem confronting people with epilepsy is discrimination in education, employment and social acceptance. Of major chronic medical conditions, epilepsy is among the least understood, even though one in three adults knows someone with the disorder.
Would you know how to help someone having a seizure?
Lack of knowledge about proper seizure first aid exposes affected individuals to injury from unnecessary restraint and from objects needlessly forced into their mouths.
Seizure FIRST AID
- Do NOT attempt to force a hard object (such as a wallet, a spoon or a tongue depressor) between the teeth. You can cause more damage than you can prevent.
- Do NOT try to hold the person down during the seizure.
- Turn the person to the side if vomiting occurs. Keep the person on his or her side while sleeping after the seizure is over.
- If the person having a seizure turns blue or stops breathing, try to position their head to prevent their tongue from blocking their airways. Breathing usually starts on its own once the seizure is over.
- CPR cannot be performed during the seizure, once the seizure is over check to see if the person is breathing if not you can start CPR at that time.
- If the seizure lasts for more than 5 minutes call 911.
- The person having the seizure may lose control of their bodily functions. Cover them with a blanket or jacket to respect their privacy.
If a person has repeated or prolonged seizures without regaining consciousness or returning to normal behavior, the body may develop a severe lack of oxygen. This is an emergency situation. Call 911.
After the seizure
Treat any injuries from bumps or falls. Record details of the seizure to report to the person's primary health care provider. You should note the following details:
- How long it lasted
- What body parts were affected
- Type of movements or other symptoms
- Possible causes
- How the person behaved after the seizure
If I have missed anything please feel free to let me know in the comments.
For more info visit The Epilepsy Foundation. (Their website is where I got all of my info and data)
So there you have it. According to most recent estimates, seizures and epilepsy will develop in 200,000 otherwise healthy Americans of all ages this year.... Crazy huh? Before Bradyn was diagnosed I knew nothing about this condition that impacts so many people. Epilepsy research is not going to get the funding it needs until we bring Epilepsy out of the shadows, start talking about it and make sure people everywhere know how serious it is. Can you help me spread the word?
If you liked this post you should read this one about my son Bradyn and how Epilepsy has impacted his life.
Who am I? My name is Ferg_e and I am a mom on a mission. My mission is to make this world a better place for my son Bradyn to grow up in. In this segment for the San Antonio Current I will blog twice per month about local and national initiatives aimed at making the world a better place for all of us. If you want to see more of me, hop on over to my blog where I write about social causes, epilepsy awareness and our personal journey from chaos to calm in the middle of epilepsy, divorce and life.