Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders in the world, affecting about 65 million people globally. This disorder does not discriminate; it can develop in anyone – young, old, people from all walks of life.
Some people may be born with it while others develop it sometime in their life. The known causes of epilepsy include the following:
- abnormal brain development
- brain damage
- prenatal injury
- head injury
- brain tumors
- heart attacks
- Alzheimer’s disease
Epilepsy is characterized by seizures or episodes of involuntary movements. There are many types of seizures but there are two general categories:
- Focal – strange sensations like nausea, unexplainable emotions and hallucinations
- Generalized – characterized by falls, loss of consciousness and muscle spasms
When clusters of neurons signal abnormally, seizures occur. The episodes vary in length, from short jerks to prolonged convulsions. Seizures also vary in frequency. Some have it a few times a day while others only have a few episodes a year.
There are various kinds of epilepsy syndromes and each are often described by their symptoms or the part of the brain where they originate.
Epilepsy can be treated in many different ways from medications, surgery, implanted devices and diets.
Many people with this disorder lead, full, active and happy lives. However, the sad fact still remains that everyone with this neurological disease are at risk for 2 life threatening issues: status epilepticus and sudden death. Status epilepticus is when a person suffers from abnormally prolonged seizure or does not regain consciousness between seizures.
Other problems they have to deal with include:
- Problems with depression or anxiety
- Mood disorders
- Cognitive problems
- Coordination problems
- Thinning of bones
- Side effects of medicines
- Hormonal and reproductive problems
Awareness is Important
November is National Epilepsy Awareness month. This is the time when nationwide effort is exerted to raise awareness to epilepsy.
Why is awareness important?
The fact that this is one of the most common neurological disorders in the world makes it possible for all of us to know or be acquainted with at least one person who has epilepsy. Also, one in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy in their lifetime. One of these can be your friend, partner, child, parent, yourself…
Would you know what to do?
It is important to understand that getting diagnosed with epilepsy is not a death sentence. It is equally important to know that this problem is manageable.
Raising awareness helps educate the public and makes members of the epilepsy community feel more welcome as part of our society.
Ways to Raise Awareness
There are various ways to raise awareness and your creativity can be put to play. During National Epilepsy Awareness Month, it is very common for individuals or groups to don purple or lavender apparel, statement shirts, purple/lavender ribbons or accessories.
Purple or lavender has long been the color used for epilepsy awareness. Many believe this color can ease the severity of seizure. There are also records stating that the scent of lavender can be helpful in seizure management.