Epilepsy Awareness Week runs from the 14th-20th May 2017, it’s aim is to increase awareness of the condition, understanding of the condition and how you can access help and support.
What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a condition affecting the brain which means they have a tendency to have epileptic seizures. Epilepsy can start at any age and there are many different types. Epilepsy is one of the most common serious neurological conditions in the world, affecting around 600,000 people in the UK.
What is a seizure?
A seizure happens when there is a sudden burst of electrical activity in the brain, this causes a temporary disruption to the way the brain normally works and causes a seizure. What happens to someone during a seizure depends on the part of the brain affected. In some types people may remain alert and aware of their surroundings, where as in other types people lose awareness. They may have unusual feelings, sensations or movements.
What are the types of seizure?
· Focal seizure– epileptic activity occurring in one part of the brain (temporal, frontal, parietal or occipital lobes)
· Generalised seizure– epileptic activity in both halves of the brain (tonic-clonic, tonic, atonic, myoclonic, absence seizures)
· Status epilepticus– seizure lasting more than 30 minutes
What causes epilepsy?
Sometimes there is not a clear cause for a case of epilepsy. Possible causes include: stroke, brain infection, head injury or lack of oxygen at birth.
How is epilepsy treated?
The main treatment is through medication, these are sometimes called anti-epileptic drugs or AEDs. The medication doesn’t cure the condition but can help manage the symptoms and reduce the number of seizures.
If you would like to know how to help someone who has a seizure, take a look at the Epilepsy Action website: https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/firstaid and you can also take their e-learning module.