3 minutes read.
A Few Epilepsy Facts
Epilepsy is a neurological, often lifelong disorder that can affect anyone regardless of age, race, or gender. It usually starts in either childhood or among people over the age of 60.
Around 1 in 3 people with epilepsy have a family member who has it.
1 in 10 of us will have a seizure during our lives.
Around 50 million people in the world have this disorder; it is the most common, global, neurological disease.
Nearly 80% of people who have it live in low and middle-income countries, and sadly, 3/4 of those suffering from epilepsy living in those countries do not get the treatment they need.
Furthermore, approximately 70% of people living with it could live seizure-free if it is properly diagnosed and treated. They can lead normal lives.
The risk of premature death is 3 times higher in people with epilepsy than for the general population.
Unfortunately, in many countries, people suffering from this disorder and their families suffer from stigma and discrimination.
Symptoms of Epilepsy.
Seizures are caused by scrambled, electrical signals in your brain and sometimes, there are bursts of electrical activity. It’s uncertain what causes these seizures but the following could be triggers:-
- Lack of sleep
- Drinking alcohol
- Certain medications and illegal drugs
- Brain infections and injuries
- Brain damage caused by strokes and tumours
Treatments for Epilepsy.
Treatments include anti-epileptic drugs, surgery to remove a tiny part of your brain that is causing the seizures and a procedure where a small, electrical device inside your body can help to control seizures. Apparently, some treatments can stop seizures completely.
Symptoms of Seizures.
Everyone’s familiar with the uncontrollable jerking and shaking, known as fitting. However, other signs include:-
- Lost of awareness and staring blankly into space. (I’ve witnessed this myself years ago.)
- Stiffness of the body.
- Experience of strange sensations such as a ‘rising’ feeling in your stomach, unusual smells or tastes and a tingling feeling in your arms or legs.
- Sometimes you could pass out and have no memory of what just happened.
Always contact a doctor if you have your first seizure.
What to do if you witness someone having a seizure.
If it’s someone you know who’s never had a seizure before, then call your emergency services, immediately.
Keep them safe by moving away objects near to them.
Time the seizures and if they last more than 5 minutes, call the emergency services. Also, call them if, the person has many seizures in a row, has breathing problems, or has seriously injured themselves.
When the fit has ended, put them in the recovery position.
Don’t leave them alone, until they’re ok. It’s a frightening experience for anyone.
Your Diet and Epilepsy.
There is minimal evidence that a balanced diet has any direct effect on seizures. However, a balanced diet could promote a regular sleep pattern which could help to reduce the risk of seizures.
Some medical professionals recommend the ketogenic diet to reduce the number and severity of seizures.
The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate and controlled protein diet that has been used since the 1920s for the treatment of epilepsy.
Usually, your body uses glucose from carbohydrates as its energy source. Chemicals called ‘ketones’ are made when your body uses fat for energy. Therefore, in the keto diet, your body uses mainly ketones as its energy source instead of glucose. This diet should be supervised by medical specialists.
Do you or someone you know suffer from epilepsy? If so, what helps you or them?
Thank you for reading.
Sources: who.int, nhs.uk, cdc.gov, epilepsysociety.org.uk