Day 39 International Epilepsy Day

Around 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, making it one of the most common neurological diseases globally.

World Health Organisation

Epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition identified by seizures. It can happen to anyone at any time in their life. The cause of epilepsy can be genetic tendencies, inherited or not, or structural changes due to development, damage or genetic conditions. However, Epilepsy Research state that “In 65% of people there is no known cause”.

Epilepsy is not just one condition, but a group of many different ‘epilepsies’ with one thing in common: a tendency to have seizures that start in the brain.

Epilepsy Society

The NHS describes seizures as “bursts of electrical activity in the brain that temporarily affect how it works.”. However, not all seizures are epileptic there are over 40 types of seizure and they can simply be caused by lack of sleep, alcohol misuse, head trauma and many more. An epileptic seizure starts within the brain, this makes it different to other seizures. A person must have 2 or more seizures before an investigation for epilepsy is considered. Many tests are used during the investigation, these measure the individuals brain activity and help form an accurate diagnosis for epilepsy.

Epileptic seizures can be triggered by different things depending on the person, often particular situations such as flashing lights, stress and tiredness. Of the people with epilepsy approximately 3% are triggered by flashing lights, I was shocked to read this as I grew up believing this was a trigger for all people with epilepsy.

Seizures are unpredictable and can cause confusion, fatigue, headaches and injury. But epilepsy can have other impacts on an individual, it can cause an increase in the risk of depression, heart disease, polycystic ovary disease, and more. People with epilepsy have to take precautions during their everyday life. At home, driving, sports, working, all of these are effected.

Epilepsy treatment works to manage seizures rather than to cure epilepsy. Usually drug treatments are used, this can be one or more drugs, depending on the needs of the individual. Other treatments include vagus nerve simulator or surgery.

Shockingly there are 21 epilepsy-related deaths every week; that’s over 1000 every year.

Epilepsy Research

Today is International Epilepsy Day which occurs the second Monday of every February to promote awareness. I have learnt so much from researching Epilepsy, and there is much more to know than the information I have wrote about in this blog. Go and research, donate, and educate!

Have a nice day!

Chloé

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