What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a condition of the brain that is characterized by recurrent seizures. Approximately one in ten people will experience at least one seizure during a lifetime. A single seizure, however, is not epilepsy. Epilepsy is a condition that is defined by multiple seizures.
Epilepsy is a seizure disorder. It is not a psychological disorder nor a disease and it is not contagious. The brain is made up of billions of nerve cells or neurons that communicate through electrical and chemical signals. When there is a sudden excessive electrical discharge that disrupts the normal activity of the nerve cells, a seizure may result.
Seizures cause a change in function or behavior. A seizure may take many different forms including a blank stare, muscle spasms, uncontrolled movements, altered awareness, odd sensations, or a convulsion. The location in the brain of the abnormally discharging nerve cells determines the form the seizure will take. Seizures may occur rarely or as often as numerous times a day. If the condition is successfully controlled by medication, a person may be seizure free.
Epilepsy is one of the most common chronic neurological disorders. An estimated 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy. That means approximately one percent of the general population has epilepsy.
When someone is having a seizure here is what you can do:
- Stay calm.
- Time the seizure – Usually there is no need for a trip to the hospital, unless the seizure lasts longer than five minutes (not including the postictal (is the altered state of consciousness after an epileptic seizure) phase), the person has more than one seizure in a row, or if a person is injured, pregnant, or has diabetes.
- Remove objects that may cause harm – clear the area of sharp or dangerous objects.
- Do not hold the person down or restrain their movement.
- Do not put anything in the person’s mouth: it is not possible for someone to swallow their tongue.
- Turn the person on his or her side as the seizure ends to allow saliva or other fluids to drain away and keep airway clear.
- Do not offer food or drink until the person is fully alert.
- Stay with the person until they are fully alert and thinking clearly. Reassure the person when consciousness returns.
For more information on epilepsy check out the link below:
Also March 26 is Purple Day where your encouraged to wear purple to increase awareness.