17 Things Everyone Should Know About Epilepsy

1. Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes seizures, which are basically like electric storms in your brain.

Epilepsy, also known as a seizure disorder, is a disorder of the brain that causes recurrent, unprovoked seizures. Those seizures are caused by surges of electrical activity in the brain, often compared to an electric storm.

In most cases, the cause of epilepsy is unknown. “Our challenge now is to understand the genetic architecture underlying each individual epilepsy,” Dr. Ley Sander, medical director at the Epilepsy Society in the U.K. and professor of neurology at University College London, told BuzzFeed. “We are also trying to understand why some people will respond well to a certain drug while others won’t.”

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5 Things You Should Know About Epilepsy

Epilepsy is common, but how much do you know about it? Get the facts about this condition!

Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes repeated seizures. There are many different types of epilepsy and many different kinds of seizures. Epilepsy can get in the way of life, mostly when seizures keep happening. To control their seizures, people with epilepsy may take medicine, have surgery, or follow a special diet. Here’s what you need to know:

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8 Ways to Make Your Home Safer if You Have Epilepsy

Making dinner, changing light bulbs, and mowing the lawn are all common household tasks, but for a person who has epilepsy, these activities have the potential to be dangerous. Certain types of seizures can cause people to be more prone to household accidents, says Maria A. Guina, MD, a neurologist with the Sentara Medical Group, a comprehensive epilepsy center in Hampton, Virginia.

“Some seizures are just sensations that people feel,” Dr. Guina explains. “There aren’t a lot of activities that can put people who have these types of seizures at risk. But others may experience impairment of consciousness, like staring, during a seizure. That can cause problems with certain activities. And those who have seizures that can cause falling and convulsions are at the highest risk of injury.”

Results from a study published in June 2018 in Frontiers in Neurology found that people who have epilepsy are at higher risk for accidents and injuries than those who don’t experience seizures. If you have epilepsy, there are modifications you can make around your home to help avoid accidents that may result from a seizure. Start with these steps.

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Epilepsy Symptoms: Not All Seizures Look Alike

The primary symptom of epilepsy is seizures, but not all seizures look or feel the same. The extent of the seizure activity usually reflects the extent of the brain involvement.

For example, seizure symptoms on only one side of the body (unilateral) tend to indicate that the seizure is only on one side of the brain. A unilateral seizure can indicate that the seizure is a “focal” seizure, meaning it originates in one part of the brain and stays in that part of the brain.

Seizures that arise from both sides of the brain (called “generalized” seizures) may lead to symptoms occurring on both sides of the body (bilateral).

A seizure is also sometimes classified as “unknown” if it was not observed by another person, or if it is unclear when the seizure started.

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6 Tips and Techniques for Coping with Epilepsy in the Workplace

Living with epilepsy can have its share of challenges, but a productive work life doesn’t have to be one of them.

Epilepsy is a neurological condition marked by an increased risk for seizures. An epilepsy diagnosis is made after a person has two or more seizures without any known cause such as alcohol withdrawal or very low blood sugar. Each year, 150,000 people will develop epilepsy in the U.S., according to the Epilepsy Foundation.

These six strategies to cope with epilepsy in your workplace can help you remain gainfully employed.

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6 ‘truths’ about epilepsy that are actually total myths

WOULD YOU KNOW what to do if you witnessed someone having a seizure?

Today marks International Epilepsy Day, an event which aims to promote epilepsy awareness around the world in more than 120 countries, increasing visibility of epilepsy and helping the general public to understand more about an often hidden condition.

Here’s the truth about some of the most common myths surrounding epilepsy…

Myth 1: An ambulance is necessary for all seizures

It might be our automatic response when we witness someone having a tonic-clonic seizure to dial 112, but what you should actually be using your phone for is to note the time that the seizure started.

A tonic-clonic seizure is a convulsive seizure involving loss of consciousness, muscle-stiffening and the person falling to the ground followed by jerking movements. If the seizure is injury free, ends in under five minutes, and is not the person’s first seizure, you may not need to phone an ambulance.

However, here are the situations in which you should definitely phone 112:

  • If the seizure continues for longer than five minutes or if the person has multiple seizures in a row
  • If it’s the first time they’ve had a seizure
  • If they’ve injured themselves during the seizure
  • If you’re in any doubt about the individual’s safety

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Five Treatment Options for Epilepsy

Epilepsy Treatment Options to Know

Epilepsy is a serious medical condition that results in random, unprovoked frequent seizures that interfere with a wide array of mental and physical functions. This neurological disease affects over 3 million individuals in the U.S. and approximately 50 million people across the globe.

Although a cure for epilepsy doesn’t exist, there are treatment options that help to control symptoms, with medication often being used as a first-line treatment. The main goal of epilepsy treatment is to stop seizures with a minimal dose, of the least number of medications, and with minimal side effects. If you suffer from epilepsy, your doctor will assess your medical records and lifestyle before recommending treatment options.

It’s important to keep in mind that epilepsy treatment is individualized for each patient. What is effective for you may be ineffective for someone else. What’s more, some individuals may need to combine several epilepsy treatment options in order to get their symptoms under control.

This article will discuss five treatment options commonly recommended for epilepsy.

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Is There a Link Between Migraines and Epilepsy?

Are Migraines and Epilepsy Connected?

There has been relatively little medical interest in finding the commonalities and connection between migraines and epilepsy.

Still, some people suffer from both seizures and migraines, and the two types of events come from the same brain cells. This has led some researchers to probe deeper into the connection, and in the last few years to paint a clearer picture of how the two conditions may be connected.

What Are Migraines?

A migraine is a severe form of a headache. It is usually one-sided, throbbing in nature and may be accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Aversion to light
  • Aversion to sound
  • Aura

An aura is something which some people experience before the onset of a migraine. Migraine auras vary from person to person. They might involve visual disturbances such as flashing lights or blind spots, smelling or hearing something which is not there, tingling or numbness.

Not everybody who suffers from migraines will experience an aura, and in some cases, it is possible to have a migraine aura but no headache.

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Epilepsy and Psychological Disorders

Epilepsy is not a mental illness. In fact, the vast majority of people living with epilepsy have no cognitive or psychological problem. For the most part, psychological issues in epilepsy are limited to people with severe and uncontrolled epilepsy.

Epilepsy and Intellectual Disability

Epilepsy itself does not cause severe intellectual problems, but the two can occur together and be caused by the same thing. For example, low oxygen, injury or infection at birth may cause mental retardation, epilepsy, and cerebral palsy.

The degree of cognitive or intellectual problems is related to

  • epilepsy starting at an early age
  • having many seizures
  • having an underlying brain lesion
  • poor seizure control
  • how long it takes to get seizures controlled

In young children, development can be delayed due to uncontrolled seizures.

Individuals with severe intellectual problems have higher rates of brain abnormalities (or changes in the brain structure). They may result in different kinds of seizures.  These also usually start in early life.

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10 Things Other Parents Need to Know About Epilepsy

I am kicking off this new series featuring a dear friend who answered my questions regarding her son’s epilepsy. Epilepsy is a catch-all term used for disorders and medical conditions causing recurrent seizures. This broad diagnosis is often frustrating to parents with a newly diagnosed child. Getting a diagnosis of epilepsy doesn’t end the hunt for the under-lying cause of the seizures. Here are 10 things other parents need to know about epilepsy.

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