What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder and affects people of all ages. Epilepsy is diagnosed in people who have as few as one otherwise unexplained seizure. This means having a seizure that wasn’t caused by low blood sugar, drug or alcohol withdrawal, etc. A tendency toward seizures can run in your family, but the vast majority of people with epilepsy do not have a family history of the disease. The most common cause of epilepsy is brain injury or disorder, however in six out of ten cases, the causes are simply unknown. Sometimes children develop epilepsy, and then outgrow it before they are adults.
Approximately three million people in the United States have epilepsy. A person is considered to have epilepsy if they meet any of the following criteria:
- two or more unprovoked seizures more that 24 hours apart
- one unprovoked seizure and a probability that other seizures will occur in the next ten years.
- A diagnosis of an epilepsy syndrome, though it is considered to be resolved for children who have been diagnosed with an age-dependent syndrome and they are now past the applicable age.
A person is considered to be epilepsy free if they have not had a seizure for ten years and have been off medication for the past five years.
The most common age groups to be diagnosed with epilepsy are: children before the age of ten and after the age of 55. Adults with brain injuries are more likely to develop epilepsy, though the seizures may begin long after the injury has healed. Brain infections can also cause epilepsy due to scarring from the infection. The seizures are most likely to present themselves long after the infection is healed. the seizures from brain injuries and infections are most likely caused by scarring left behind, which causes the brain to misfire.
Epilepsy Awareness Bracelet
Lavender is the color of epilepsy awareness. This is the same color used to signify a celebration of cancer survivors. Just as we hope for a cure for all cancer survivors, we also hope for a cure for epilepsy. Help raise awareness about epilepsy, it’s causes and treatments, to help lessen the stigma that those who suffer from epilepsy must live with. Epilepsy can be scary to those who don’t know what to expect, or how to help someone who is having a seizure. Education and awareness can do a lot to lessen this fear.