Epilepsy affects more people than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and Parkinson's combined yet gets less research money than any one of them.
Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the United States and 10% of Americans will have at least one seizure in their lifetime. 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime. 50 million people have epilepsy, that's around 1% of the population.
Epilepsy is actually an umbrella term for about 20 different seizure related disorders.
Seizures are abnormal movements or behavior due to unusual electrical activity in the brain. Seizure symptoms include convulsions, loss of consciousness, blank staring, lip smacking and jerking movements of the arms and legs.
People with epilepsy have an increased risk of poor self-esteem, depression and suicide.
Seizures can affect any part of the brain and could affect several areas at once, all the way up to affecting the whole brain.
Several celebrities have epilepsy and some who you might not expect:
Rick Harrison (Famous for Pawn Stars)
Edward Snowden (Famous for hacking and leaking information from the NSA)
and even some historical figures:
Edgar Allan Poe
Vincent van Gogh
Causes of Epilepsy:
-Trauma from birth, such as lack of oxygen
-Head injuries during birth, childhood, or adulthood
-Infections, such as meningitis
What could trigger a seizure?
Seizures can be triggered by different things for different people and disorders. Some common triggers include:
-Heavy use of alcohol
-Drugs, such as cocaine
-High levels of stress
-Loss of sleep
-In women, the number of seizures tend to go up around the time of their menstruation.
Symptoms of Epilepsy:
-Loss of Consciousness
-Jerking Movements of the arms and legs
How to diagnose epilepsy:
-MRIs, CAT Scans, EEGs
-Look at patient's and patient's family's medical histories
-Experienced two or more seizures
Do you have Epilepsy?
1. Have you ever experienced any of the symptoms of a seizure?
2. Have you had more than one seizure or the strong possibility of another one?
3. Has anyone in your family been diagnosed with a seizure disorder?
How to get involved:
There are several ways for you to be involved in helping people with epilepsy. Just speak about epilepsy and when you hear someone saying incorrect or harmful things about epilepsy speak up about it. Participate in local events. Encourage local groups to host events or host one yourself!