• 1. Seizures are more than just physical

    Many people think of seizures as just convulsions. Epileptic patients also have symptoms of sensory perception. People may have a feeling of de ja vu, vision changes or become overcome by psychological feelings.

    2. Seizures knows no age

    Seizures are not just for kids. They can occur at any age.

    3. Seizures can be a medical emergency

    If you see someone having a seizure greater than 5 min or not breathing, call 911 for help.  DO NOT put anything in the person’s mouth.

    4. Surgical Treatment can be an option

    For some people with epilepsy, surgery can help decrease or eliminate the occurrence of seizures

    5. There are reliable resources for information about Epilepsy

    For help and information about seizure disorder and treatment options, contact Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan at www.epilepsymichigan.org

    6. Blink and you’ll miss it

    Some seizures may last just a few seconds and can consist of just a brief stare or quick twitch.

    7. Medication can help

    Currently there are 20 medications available that help manage epilepsy and more are on the way.

    8. The cause may be difficult to find

    Seizures can occur from head injury, infections such as meningitis, high fever, low blood sugar, or some can have no known origin.

    9. An Epileptologist is a specialist that treats seizure disorders

    Epilepsy monitoring units are available to evaluate and classify seizure types so that the epileptologist can properly treat their patients.

    10. You are not alone

    More than 3 million Americans have seizures.

    1. The word ‘epilepsy’ comes from the Ancient Greek word ἐεπιλαμβάνειν which means “to seize, possess, or afflict”

    2. The oldest known detailed record of the condition itself is in the Sakikku, a Babylonian cuneiform medical text from 1067–1046 BC. This text gives signs and symptoms, details treatment and likely outcomes, and describes many features of the different seizure types.

    3. The first drug to be made using a 3D printer was levetiracetam

    4. St Valentine is the patron saint of people with epilepsy.

    5. Jane Austen had a brother called George who had epilepsy, learning difficulties, and was probably deaf.

    6. Seizure triggers can range from sunlight through the trees, to cigarette smoke, to stress.

    7. Kelly Osbourne, Susan Boyle and Prince are just a few celebrities who have epilepsy.

    8. It has been speculated that historical figures including Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Vladimir Lenin and Harriet Tubman had epilepsy

    9. Any organism with a brain can develop epilepsy

    10. Dogs can be trained to detect and predict epileptic seizures

    11. The hippocampus is an area in the temporal lobes of the brain which is involved in controlling emotion and instinct. The area is called hippocampus because it is shaped a bit like a seahorse and ‘hippocampus’ is Greek for seahorse. The hippocampus is the site of the epileptic focus in some people with epilepsy, so for many years, the seahorse was the symbol of Epilepsy Society.

    12. Purple is the colour of epilepsy which is why Cassidy Megan, a young girl with epilepsy from Nova Scotia, Canada created Purple Day. Lavender is recognised as the international flower of epilepsy. The flower is said to symbolise isolation and loneliness, often associated with epilepsy. Interestingly, pure, essential lavender oils are thought to have a relaxing effect on the body and brain and may help to reduce seizures. Spike lavender, however, should be avoided as it may trigger seizures.

  • Epilepsy mixes brain messages

    Electrical activity is happening in our brain all the time, but an epileptic siezure happens when “there is a sudden burst of intense electrical activity in the brain,” says an Epilepsy Action spokesperson.

    “This epileptic activity causes a temporary disruption to the way the brain normally works, so the brain’s messages become mixed up.”

    Epilepsy is unique…

    “There are many different types of seizure, and each person will experience epilepsy in a way that is unique to them,” says the Epilepsy Action spokesperson.

    …And hard to spot

    “Other than seizures, there are no real obvious ways to tell if someone has epilepsy if you don’t know them. That is why it is often called the hidden condition.”

    There are many causes of epilepsy

    While some people may be born with epilepsy or begin to be affected very young, some people develop it later in life, perhaps as the result of a brain injury, a stroke, an infection like meningitis, or a brain tumour. In around six out of 10 people, doctors don’t know the cause of their epilepsy.

    …And many triggers

    Flickering lights are probably the most recognised triggers among non-epilepsy sufferers, but there are many more things that can spur a seizure. Tiredness, stress, alcohol, periods and missing meals are also all common triggers for seizures.

    Epilepsy has many symptoms

    Again, the most recognised symptom of epilepsy is the full-blown seizure, but most people will have symptoms before it gets to this stage, and will know that a seizure is coming.

    “Some people may have a sensation beforehand, such as a strange taste in the mouth or a headache, or ‘auras’ which can hint at a seizure starting,” says Epilepsy Action.

    Other signs include pins and needles, deja vu, stiffness, and intense feelings of fear or happiness, confusion, falling, sleepiness and loss of control of bladder or bowel. Knowing a seizure is coming can give people time to prepare – warning people near them and making sure they’re in a safe space.

    “For many, however, a seizure can literally come from nowhere with no warning. Even those who do experience signs or auras may not have them exactly before the start of a seizure.”

    A seizure doesn’t always mean epilepsy

    Epilepsy is defined as the tendency to have recurrent seizures, and few people are diagnosed after only one seizure – five people in every 100 will have an epileptic seizure at some point in their lives, but only four of them will develop epilepsy.

    Epilepsy can control people’s lives…

    “When you see the lives of people affected by epilepsy and hear their stories then you will see exactly what epilepsy looks like,” says Epilepsy Action’s Phil Lee.

    “It will open your eyes and inspire you. You’ll see its many faces. You’ll see how epilepsy can touch any part of a person’s life, how it can undermine your confidence and shatter your self-esteem. How it can take away your dreams and opportunities in life.”

    …But it doesn’t have to

    “You can also see how people refuse to be ruled by epilepsy. How they fight back and regain control of their life. How they succeed and achieve and can be happy,” he stresses.

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