National Epilepsy Month time to reflect on seizures

Sunday, November 15, 2015

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month. The number of people living with Epilepsy in the United States ranges from 1.3 million to 2.8 million.

Looking at the occurrence of epilepsy over a lifetime, 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some time in their life (Epilepsy Foundation, 2015).

"Epilepsy is a chronic disorder, the hallmark of which is recurrent, unprovoked seizures. Many people with epilepsy have more than one type of seizure and may have other symptoms of neurological problems as well" (Epilepsy Foundation, 2015).

A seizure is a "sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain." While symptoms of the seizure may affect any part of the body, the human brain is the source of human epilepsy. Seizures alone are not a disease. Instead, seizures are a symptom of many different disorders that can affect the brain.

The nature of the seizure varies due to the lobes of brain controls different behaviors, movement, and experiences. Identifying if someone is having a seizure and diagnosing the type of seizure or Epilepsy Syndrome can be difficult. Epilepsy can be caused by different conditions that affect a person's brain. Many times the cause is unknown.

Some causes include:

*Brain tumor.
*Traumatic brain injury or head injury.
*Central nervous system infection.

"The first question is to find out if the person had a seizure, then the doctor will want to know the type of seizure or epilepsy syndrome that best explains the event. To do this, more information will be needed, including details of the medical history, blood tests, EEG tests, and brain imaging tests such as CT and MRI scans. This gives information about the electrical activity of the brain, what the brain looks like and possible causes of seizures." (Epilepsy Foundation, 2015).

Seizures take many forms. They are described in two major groups of seizures: Primary generalized seizures and partial seizures.

Primary generalized seizures: Primary generalized seizures begin with a widespread electrical discharge that involves both sides of the brain at once. Hereditary factors are important in many of these seizure (Epilepsy Foundation, 2015).

Partial Seizures: "Partial seizures begin with an electrical discharge in one limited area of the brain. Many different things can cause partial seizures, for example head injury, brain infection, stroke, tumor, or changes in the way an area of the brain was formed before birth (called cortical dysplasias).

Partial seizures can be broken down further, depending on whether a person's awareness or consciousness (the ability to respond and remember) is affected." (Epilepsy Foundation, 2015).

This article is purposed to provide educational information. In no way does the information provided take away from visiting/ seeking advice from your medical team. Visit our homepage at or you can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 653-8411 for more information to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs.

Upcoming Events:

Nov.16 -- Options for Handling Tighter Margins, 6-8 p.m., Fairgrounds.

Nov. 16 -- Succession Planning, 5-8 p.m., Beef House Restaurant, call to register.

Nov. 19 -- Putnam County Extension Board Annual Dinner, 6:30 p.m., Inn at DePauw.

Nov. 26 -- Extension Office closed for holiday.

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