Thursday, November 21, 2013

Educate Yourself about Epilepsy

Epilepsy monitoring
November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which a person has repeated seizures. Seizures are episodes of disturbed brain activity that cause abnormal mental and physical functions, which are commonly manifested in the form of convulsions or shaking. These can last seconds to minutes or, in some rare cases, hours and days, but they typically have duration of less than five minutes. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, a person is considered to have epilepsy after having two or more unprovoked seizures. 

With more than 50 million people worldwide living with epilepsy (approximately one in 26 people in the U.S.), it is likely that you know someone with this condition. In the event that you find yourself in the presence of someone who is having a seizure, you can keep the following tips in mind: 

  • Stay calm and encourage others around you not to panic.
  • Contrary to what may be intuitive, it is important that you do not attempt to stop the person’s movements or try to hold him or her down in any way.
  • Clear the surroundings of sharp objects, furniture or anything that could hurt the person.
  • Do not put anything in the person’s mouth.
  • Loosen any ties or necklaces on the person’s body. They may make it difficult to breathe during a seizure.
  • Gently turn the person to one side, if possible, to ensure that his or her airway is open.
  • Pay attention to what the person’s seizure looked like and keep track of how long the seizure lasts – this is important for communicating with medical personnel.
  • Stay with the person until the seizure ends and help him or her to remain calm immediately afterwards. Confusion is a common symptom following a seizure.

If you think you have been having seizures, it is important to talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Try to provide information such as frequency, timing and specific details of the symptoms or seizures. If your symptoms are indicative of seizures, you may be referred to a neurologist, who can diagnose the specific type of epilepsy and give directions for treatment, such as medications and behavior modification to consider. 

In need of a primary care physician or a neurologist? Visit or to find the one that is right for you. 

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