You are probably aware of what epilepsy is; you may even know someone who suffers from it. You may have seen someone have a seizure where their brain’s electrical function is disrupted which caused them to twitch and quake which brought on a fall. Even with the public knowledge, there are some things you may not know.
Epilepsy is More Prevalent Than You Think.
Approximately three and a half million people in the United States suffer from epilepsy. Epilepsy is an equal-opportunity affliction. It does not leave any demographic untouched: men, women, children, any race or any location; it can strike anyone.
You can Take Precautions.
While Epilepsy can be genetic or cause by something such as a tumor in the brain, head injuries can cause epilepsy as well. Wearing a helmet when you ride a motorcycle, bike, or skate can save your brain from trauma. Wearing a seatbelt in a vehicle equipped with airbags reduces the chance of brain injury in a car accident. Equipping an elderly family member’s home with railing or getting them a walker will reduce the likelihood of epilepsy being brought on by a fall. Strokes are another frequent cause of epilepsy and getting the right amount of exercise and eating a healthy diet that includes omega-3 and b-vitamins can help prevent a stroke.
Not All Seizures are Created Equal.
Some seizures are more intense and harmful than others. In some cases, you may not even know someone is having an epileptic seizure because it is so mild. A person might be silent for a few moments or blink faster; they may even tell you they are having a seizure where otherwise it would have been undetectable. In other cases an attack can be violent and send an epileptic crashing to the floor, arms and legs wildly thrashing. So be aware that you may know someone who has epilepsy and have no idea they suffer from it because it is not noticeable.
Epilepsy Does Not Cause Cognitive Impairment.
Yes, some brain disorders can cause mental impairment and bring about epilepsy, but the condition itself does not decrease intelligence or memory. It can indirectly cause cognitive damage if a brain injury occurs from a fall caused by a seizure, but epilepsy does not diminish mental prowess or recall on its own. Some seizure medication can affect moods and cause drowsiness, but don’t generally bring about a reduction in I.Q. or memory loss. Some people equate epilepsy with a lower I.Q.; nothing could be further from the truth.
Epilepsy is Manageable.
You may think there is nothing someone who has epilepsy can do to manage their condition, but that is a common misconception. They may be able to reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures through getting a full eight hours of sleep each night, eating healthy, avoiding alcohol and recreational drugs. Some medications are very effective in preventing epileptic seizures, but if a dose is missed or taken too late, there is a higher chance an attack will occur. You can also reduce the risk of injury arising from an epileptic seizure by making sure that your home and workplace are laid out in a way that makes head trauma from a fall less likely.
Remember, there are millions of people who suffer from epilepsy; you may be one of them. Take some time to learn more about it and what you can do to help in the fight against it.
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