Top 5 Epilepsy Facts You Should Know

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Top 5 Epilepsy Facts You Should Know

VOICE OVER: Lisa Yang
Script written by Michael Wynands
November is Epilepsy Awareness Month! Here are some important facts you should know about epilepsy. Did you know that there are a number of factors involved? Epilepsy can develop at any stage of life, but it most commonly manifests during childhood or old age. Though it affects people of all ethnicities, individuals of Hispanic descent appear to be more susceptible. Head injuries, strokes, family history, dementia and brain infections have all been shown to increase the risk. There are few people who have access to treatment. Even when anti-seizure medications are made available, the high cost of treatment effectively places it beyond the reach of the vast majority of those affected.
Transcript

Top 5 Facts About Epilepsy

How familiar are you with this condition? Welcome to MsMojo’s Top 5 Facts. In today’s instalment we’re counting down the Top 5 Facts About Epilepsy. Come along as we take a closer look a this common neurological disorder.


#5: People Can Experience Many Different Types of Seizure

When you hear the word “epilepsy,” most people jump to the mental image of convulsions. But that particular physical reaction isn’t universal - seizures can actually result in a wide variety of bodily responses. Epileptic seizures break down into two two broad categories: focal and generalized. Focal seizures affect a particular area of the brain and often involve subtler symptoms (depending on the sub-type), while generalized seizures impact both sides of the brain. Generalized seizures break down into 6 subtypes, some of which result in violent movement. Taking into account the many subcategories and variants, some scientists consider there to be as many as 40 different types of seizure.




#4: There Are A Number of Factors Involved

Epilepsy affects a significant portion of the population. In the U.S., we’re talking about 1 out of every 100 people. Globally, estimates are in the ballpark of 50 million individuals. There is no single, simple answer to the question of what causes epilepsy. What has been identified, however, are a number of variables that contribute. Epilepsy can develop at any stage of life, but it most commonly manifests during childhood or old age. Though it affects people of all ethnicities, individuals of Hispanic descent appear to be more susceptible. Head injuries, strokes, family history, dementia and brain infections have all been shown to increase the risk.



#3: There is No Cure, But There Are Treatment Options

Though a single injection, pill or procedure would be ideal, no such cure is available to those living with epilepsy. Thankfully, there are treatments available, and the good news is, they’re considered highly effective. With prescription drugs, the incidence of epileptic seizures can, in an estimated 70% of cases, be significantly reduced, if not eliminated completely. Though these drugs cannot cure the root cause of epilepsy, they have eliminated seizures in many patients, who, after years of treatment without seizure, are able to go off the medication without seeing their symptoms return. This is the case for roughly 50% of patients for whom the medication was successful.



#2: Too Few People Have Access to Treatment

Roughly 40 million of epilepsy sufferers live in relative poverty. As is the case with many medical conditions, epilepsy is more likely to affect lower-income people, whether in richer countries or developing nations. Not only are the less fortunate at greater risk, but should they develop the condition, they have significantly less access to proper treatment. Even when anti-seizure medications are made available, the high cost of treatment effectively places it beyond the reach of the vast majority of those affected.



#1: Though Uncommon, It Can Result in Sudden Death

Epilepsy is not thought of as a fatal condition. However, “sudden unexpected death in epilepsy” or “SUDEP” is estimated to claim the lives of 1.3 out of every 1000 people living with epilepsy annually. The scientific community has struggled to definitively understand why, but the working theory is that the intensity of epileptic seizure creates cardiovascular, respiratory and cerebral issues, stemming from changes in brain function. In addition to SUDEP, epilepsy can also claim lives in the form of unexpected seizures: drowning, car accidents and potentially lethal falls are all serious risks.


How familiar were you with epilepsy before now? Do you know anyone living with it? For more informative Top 10s and honest 5s, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.

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