Epilepsy is a neurological disorder which causes seizures through electrical impulses occurring in the brain. It is the fourth most common neurological disorder. Epilepsy affects 50 million people worldwide. In the U.S., 1 out of 26 people are affected.
A person is considered to have epilepsy if they meet any of the following conditions:
- At least two unprovoked seizures occurring greater than 24 hours apart.
- One unprovoked seizure and after two unprovoked seizures occurring over the next 10 years.
- Diagnosis of an epilepsy syndrome.
A seizure is caused by a burst of abnormal activity in the brain. With a seizure, a person has change in awareness, behavior, body movement or sensation. A seizure can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Seizures can take on many different forms and affect people in different ways.
Auras are often describes as a warning before the occurrence of a seizure. Not everyone experiences an aura. Some have described it as a change in feeling, sensation, thought or behaviors. this may include:
- An overpowering smell.
- Nausea or indigestion.
- A rising/sinking feeling in the stomach.
- a sleepy/dreamy feeling.
Types of Seizures
Generalized Tonic Clonic Seizures. Involves the entire brain. May also be referred to as a grand mal seizure. This occurs when abnormal electrical activity affects all or most of the brain. often the body will stiffen and then the person will lose consciousness and then the body will shake due to uncontrollable muscle contractions.
Absence Seizure– A brief loss of consciousness or awareness. It generally last only seconds and mainly occurs in children. Signs may include a blank stare, lip smacking and repeated blinking, chewing or hand movement.
Focal Seizures– The burst of electrical activity is contain in one part of the brain. In a simple focal seizure, you may have muscular jerks or strange sensations in one arm or leg. The person does not lose consciousness or awareness.
- brain trauma
- brain infections
- head injury.
- Babies who are born small for their age
- Babies who have seizures in the first month of life
- Cerebral Palsy
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Conditions with intellectual and developmental disabilities
- Family history of epilepsy (febrile)
Awareness day: March 26
Awareness Month: November
More people live with epilepsy than autism, spectrum disorders, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy combined.
You can’t swallow your tongue during a seizure. It is physically impossible.
You should never force something into the mouth of someone having a seizure.
Don’t restrain someone having a seizure.
Epilepsy is not contagious .
Anyone can develop epilepsy.
Epilepsy is not rare.
1 in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy in their lifetime.4An estimated 3 million Americans and 65 million people worldwide live with epilepsy.
In 2/3 of patients diagnosed with epilepsy, the cause is unknown.
Up to 50,000 deaths occur annually in the U.S. from status epilepticus (prolonged seizures). (SUDEP) and other seizure-related causes such as drowning and other accidents.
SUDEP accounts for 34% of all sudden deaths in children.
Epilepsy costs the U.S. approximately 15.5 billion each year.
A seizure is a transient disruption of brain function due to abnormal and excessive electrical discharges in brain cells.
Epilepsy is a disease of the brain that predisposes a person to excessive electrical discharges in the brain cell.
It is diagnosed when 2 or more unprovoked seizures have occurred.
It must be at least 2 unprovoked seizures more than 24 hours apart.
About 14% have simple partial seizures.
36% have complex partial seizures.
5% have tonic-clonic seizures.
Seizures can be caused by head trauma, stokes, brain tumor and a brain infection.
Causes are unknown in 60 to 70% of cases.
The prevalence is 1% of the U.S. population.
Approximately 2.2 to 3 million in the U.S. have seizures.
It affects all ages, socioeconomic and racial groups.
Incidents are higher in children and older adults.
Seizures can range from momentarily blanks to loss of awareness
Almost 150,000 people in the U.S. develop epilepsy every year.
No gender is likely to develop than others.
1/3 of individuals with autism spectrum disorders also have epilepsy.
The prevalence of epilepsy in people with an intellectual disability is higher than the general population.