Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects millions of people worldwide.
It's characterized by recurrent seizures, which are sudden and uncontrolled bursts of electrical activity in the brain.
While epilepsy can be a challenging condition to live with, understanding the facts about it and knowing how to provide assistance during seizures can make a significant difference in the lives of those affected.
In this blog post, we will explore essential facts about epilepsy, and its impact on individuals and their loved ones, and offer practical guidance on how to help when seizures occur.
The guide is only for people with epilepsy who are able to live a relatively normal daily life despite their condition, and can interact with the rest of us through everyday activities such as work, transportation or while shopping.
Understanding Epilepsy: Key Facts
- Prevalence and Diversity: Epilepsy is more common than you might think. It affects people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. Worldwide, approximately 50 million individuals have epilepsy.
- Types of Seizures: Epileptic seizures can vary widely in their presentation. There are several types, including focal (partial) seizures, generalized seizures, and absence seizures. Each type has distinct characteristics and may require different approaches for assistance.
- Triggers and Causes: Epilepsy can be caused by various factors, such as genetic predisposition, brain injury, infections, or developmental disorders. It's important to note that not all seizures are related to epilepsy; some can be triggered by external factors like stress, sleep deprivation, or flashing lights.
Impact on Daily Life: Living with epilepsy can be challenging. Individuals with epilepsy often face limitations in activities, employment, and social interactions. Understanding and empathy from friends, family, and the community are crucial for their well-being.
How to Help When Seizures Happen
- Maintain Calmness: During a seizure, it's crucial to stay calm and reassure others present. Panic can exacerbate the situation. Keep track of the duration of the seizure, as most seizures resolve on their own within a few minutes.
- Ensure Safety: Gently guide the person having the seizure away from any hazards, such as sharp objects or moving traffic. Place them on their side to prevent choking on fluids or saliva. Do not attempt to hold them down or put anything in their mouth, as this can cause injury.
- Time the Seizure: If possible, note the start time of the seizure. Seizures lasting longer than five minutes or occurring in clusters may require emergency medical attention.
- Provide Comfort Afterward: After the seizure ends, the person may be confused, disoriented, or tired. Offer reassurance and help them reorient themselves. If it's their first seizure or they have sustained an injury during the seizure, seek medical evaluation.
- Stay Informed: Encourage the person with epilepsy to share their seizure action plan with you, including any medications or medical devices they may need in case of prolonged seizures.
Seek Professional Guidance: It's essential for anyone diagnosed with epilepsy to receive appropriate medical care and treatment. Medications, lifestyle changes, and sometimes surgery may be recommended to manage seizures effectively.
Did you know that VALE's inspiration is a boy named Valter nicknamed "VALE", who suffers from agressive epileptic seizures?
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