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We want to help you understand the basic facts of Epilepsy and great resources that can help those living with Epilepsy. Epilepsy, sometimes referred to as seizure disorder, is a general term that refers to a tendency to have recurrent seizures. A seizure is a temporary disturbance in brain function in which groups of nerve cells in the brain signal abnormally and excessively. Tonic-clonic – stiffening of the limbs (the tonic phase), followed by jerking of the limbs and face (the clonic phase). A more detailed explanation of the diagnosis of seizure types and Epilepsy syndromes may be found in a publication of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Seizures and Epilepsy: Hope Through Research.
Don’t attempt artificial respiration except in the unlikely event that a person does not start breathing again after the seizure has stopped.
Offer to call a taxi, friend or relative to help the person get home if he seems confused or unable to get home by himself. African Americans are learning more about epilepsy- a disease that many in the community are especially prone to developing.
Epilepsy and seizures affect almost 3 million Americans of all ages, at an estimated annual cost of $15.5 billion in direct and indirect costs. Generalized seizures are more common in children under the age of 10; afterwards more than half of all new cases of epilepsy will have partial seizures. Among the rest, the cause may be any one of a number of things that can make a difference in the way the brain works.
About 30 percent of the 200,000 new cases every year begin in childhood, particularly in early childhood and around the time of adolescence. Imaging methods such as CT (computerized tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans may be used to search for any growths, scars, or other physical conditions in the brain that may be causing the seizures. A major downfall is that most people live in states where medical marijuana is not yet a legal prescription and can’t receive what may be their only hopeful treatment. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS Therapy), where an electrical device is implanted to intermittently stimulate a large nerve in the neck.
Sometimes Epilepsy is a symptom of a more serious underlying condition such as a stroke or a tumor that carries an increased risk of death. People with some types of Epilepsy who continue to have major seizures can experience injuries during a seizure from falling or hurting their head that may occasionally be life-threatening.
Very prolonged seizures or seizures in rapid succession, a condition called status epilepticus, can also be life-threatening.
Epilepsy is a chronic disorder that may affect how you feel about yourself and your relationship with other people, such as family, friends, or co-workers. Should women who have epilepsy and take anti-epileptic medication never get pregnant or terminate pregnancies? For women who have epilepsy, the risk of having a baby with a birth defect is double the risk for women in the general population. The birth defects occur because the baby may have a genetic susceptibility to possible harmful effects of medications. Whatever the cause of the malformations, they do not occur often enough to support avoiding or terminating a pregnancy. Stillbirths or miscarriages are also more common for women who have epilepsy, occurring in 1.7 percent of pregnancies, which is about three times the amount in the general population.

There is also a small increase in mortality rates during the first year of life for children of mothers with epilepsy. Although common sense precautions may be necessary, it helps to focus on your abilities, rather than defining yourself by your restrictions. Danny Glover, star of many movies including the Lethal Weapon series, has been public about his previous history of Epilepsy.
Tiki Barber, former American football player, who played running back for the New York Giants, suffered from seizures as a child. Ronde Barber, former American football player who played cornerback with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, suffered from seizures as a child. The fact sheets, and no part of them, may be reproduced, by any process for any purpose, without written permission.
All care has been taken in preparing the information but St John takes no responsibility for its use by other parties or individuals.
You can request about 10 medical freebies, including a magnet, fact sheet and other hospital information. Nerve cells or neurons normally produce electrical impulses that act on other nerve cells, muscles, or glands to create awareness, thought, sensations, actions, and control of internal body functions.
Causes the person to lose consciousness, fall to the ground, and have rigidity and muscle jerks lasting up to a few minutes, with an extended period of confusion and fatigue afterward. In general, seizures do not indicate Epilepsy if they only occur as a result of a temporary medical condition such as a high fever, low blood sugar, alcohol or drug withdrawal, or immediately following a brain concussion.
For example, head injuries or lack of oxygen during birth may damage the delicate electrical system in the brain. In a few research centers, positron emission tomography (PET) imaging is used to identify areas of the brain which are producing seizures. There are now many drugs available, and a doctor may recommend one or more of these based on several individual patient factors such as the type of Epilepsy, the frequency and severity of the seizures, age, and related health conditions.
With certain types of Partial Epilepsy, especially when it can be determined that seizures consistently arise from a single area of the brain (the “seizure focus”), surgery to remove that focus may be effective in stopping future seizures or making them much easier to control with medication. There has been research proof that marijuana (cannabis) is a successful treatment for Epilepsy & other neurological disorders.
The energy comes from a battery, about the size of a silver dollar, which is surgically implanted under the skin, usually on the chest. These events are not well understood, although they are suspected sometimes to be due to heart rhythm disturbances during a seizure. It does not automatically mean problems although anyone can have emotional difficulties with self-esteem or relationships.
Sexual relationships are a normal part of healthy living, and people with seizures fall in love and marry just like anyone else. Any woman, whether she has epilepsy or not, has a two to three percent chance of having a baby with a birth defect.
However, if an eight percent risk of having a child with a malformation is unacceptable to you, it is important that you make the decision that’s best for you.
Taking medication daily, having regular blood tests, or keeping seizure records is time consuming and a frequent reminder of a chronic disorder.
Other family members and friends may be concerned and overprotective and, as a result, you may feel dependent. Think of creative ways to solve the problems in your life, such as sharing rides with friends, or learning about public transportation options if you can’t drive.
He has suffered with the disease since childhood and says that he rarely remembers his seizures. St John encourages first aid training as these Fact Sheets are not a substitute for first aid training. During a seizure, disturbances of nerve cell activity produce symptoms that vary depending on which part (and how much) of the brain is affected.

Any movement, sensory or emotional symptom can occur as part of a partial seizure, including complex visual or auditory hallucinations.
Among people who experience a seizure under such circumstances, without a history of seizures at other times, there is usually no need for ongoing treatment for Epilepsy, only a need to treat the underlying medical condition.
It is important for the public to know how to respond to all seizures, including the most noticeable kind—generalized tonic-clonic seizures, or convulsions. Other causes include brain tumors, genetic conditions (such as tuberous sclerosis), lead poisoning, problems in development of the brain before birth, and infections like meningitis or encephalitis. After starting a medication, close monitoring is required for awhile to assess the effectiveness of the drug as well as possible side effects.
Epilepsy surgery is most commonly performed when a seizure focus is located within the temporal lobe of the brain. A specially developed marijuana treatment has been a cure for children and adults with Epilepsy. People with epilepsy may be embarrassed or fearful about their seizures and they may have to content with the ignorance and fear of other people. For some people, there are more difficult restrictions, such as inability to drive or make certain career choices. Realistically, some people with epilepsy may have to depend on others to help with certain tasks of daily living. Shopping by phone or with a computer may increase your options for independence and control. And don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it, including professional counseling. Seizures may produce changes in awareness or sensation, involuntary movements, or other changes in behavior. The disease has a number of causes-including head injuries-and affects people of all ages and walks of life. Epilepsy is often thought of as a condition of childhood, but it can develop at any time of life. Brain waves during or between seizures may show special patterns which help the doctor decide whether or not someone has Epilepsy. Some people work through these issues on their own, and others may need some help from a nurse or a professional counselor to deal with them effectively.
You may experience some specific problems associated with seizure disorders that can interfere with sexual expression and there are some concerns related to seizure control, certain medications and other significant issues that are important to discuss with your doctor before you become pregnant.
Even so, mothers with seizures have a better than 90 percent chance of having a normal, healthy baby. The Epilepsy Foundation says the best way to deal with epilepsy is to better understand it, yet a number of myths and stigmas still surround the condition.
Sometimes, because of continued seizures or significant side effects, it is necessary to change to a different drug. For more detailed information on these subjects, see Epilepsy and Sexual Relationships and Pregnancy Issues. For instance, despite the fact that 24,000 African Americans will be diagnosed with epilepsy this year, a recent survey found children with the disease are more likely to be picked on or bullied at school. For about two-thirds of people with Epilepsy receiving optimum treatment, drugs are successful in fully controlling seizures. For the remainder, although drugs may have a partial benefit, some seizures continue to occur.

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