Thursday, November 29, 2012

What Epilepsy Means to Me: Epilepsy Facts

It’s hard to believe Epilepsy Awareness Month is almost over.  I am so grateful to everyone who agreed to be interviewed this month about epilepsy and sharing so much of their lives with such candor and openness. 

I’d like to share some facts about epilepsy today and tomorrow I will share some epilepsy resources that I hope are helpful.

First the facts, Ma’am:

             Almost 3 million people living in the United States and 65 million worldwide live with epilepsy. Source:  Epilepsy Foundation

             500 new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed in the United States every day.  Source:  CURE: Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy

             Epilepsy is the 4th most common neurological disorder behind migraine, Alzheimer’s Disease and Stroke.  Source: Epilepsy Foundation

             Epilepsy affects more people than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and Parkinson’s disease combined.  (Yes, COMBINED!) Source: CURE: Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy

             It is a MYTH that a person can swallow their tongue during a seizure.   Nothing should be placed in a person’s mouth during a seizure.  The best way to help a person having a seizure (if they are lying down) is to help keep them safe.  If possible, roll them over to their side and place something soft under their head.  Source: Epilepsy Foundation

             Epilepsy results in an estimated annual cost of $15.5 billion in medical costs and lost or reduced earnings and production.  Source:  CURE: Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy

             Epilepsy can develop at any age and can be a result of genetics, stroke, head injury and many other factors.  Source: Epilepsy Foundation

             One study suggests 68% of people with poorly controlled epilepsy do not have personal friends.  Personal friendships help develop good self-esteem which reduces depression.   Source: Epilepsy Foundation

             Mood disorders are related to epilepsy and can be a side effect of either the seizures or the anti-seizure medication.  Source: The Epilepsy Therapy Project

             In over 40% percent of patients, seizures can’t be controlled with treatment which can lead to brain damage and death.  Source: Cure: Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy

             In almost 70% of cases of epilepsy, no cause can be found.  So many conditions can cause epilepsy or are related to epilepsy that it’s difficult to track down the exact cause.  It can be caused by an abnormality in brain wiring, imbalance of brain chemistry, injury, poisoning, brain tumor, stroke, Alzheimer’s, cerebral palsy, or any combination of these (just to name a few).   Source: Epilepsy Foundation

             Keeping a seizure diary can help someone with epilepsy and their neurologist figure out possible seizure triggers and what medications are or aren’t working.  Download a seizure diary at

If you’re interested in telling your own story about epilepsy, please contact me at robertssister@att.netand I’ll be happy to share your story at any time. After all, Epilepsy Awareness Month actually never ends! 
Tomorrow I will share epilepsy resources with you to finish this month of Epilepsy Awareness. 

Then, I’m going to say hi to my husband, pet my animals and go take a nap. 

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