A neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions, associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
There are three major groups of seizures:
- Generalized Onset (affect both sides of the brain; i.e.: absence, tonic, atonic, clonic, myoclonic, and tonic-clonic seizures)
- Focal Onset (start in one area on one side of the brain)
- Unknown Onset
- 48 out of 100,000 Americans will be diagnosed with epilepsy every year
- Epilepsy is more likely in young children and older adults
- 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy at sometime in their life.
- Epilepsy affects approximately 50 million people world wide
Epilepsy may have no identifiable cause, or may be traced to various factors:
- Brain conditions (tumors, strokes)
- Developmental disorders (autism, neurofibromatosis)
- History of head trauma
- Infectious disease (meningitis, AIDS, encephalitis)
- Perinatal (before birth) injury
While epilepsy cannot be prevented, in most cases, seizures associated with the condition can be prevented by modifying or avoiding triggers.
- Avoid bright, flashing lights and other visual stimuli.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
- Decrease screen time (TV, computer, video games)
- Eat a healthy diet
- Manage stress
- Sleep: get enough, and stick to a schedule
- Take all medications as prescribed
People with a chronic disease are at higher risk for serious problems from certain diseases. Getting vaccinated is an important step in staying healthy.
The CDC recommends all adults receive:
- Influenza – recommended every year, age 6 months and older
- Tdap – (if an adult did not receive it as an adolescent to protect against pertussis (whooping cough), and then a Td (tetanus, diphtheria) booster shot every 10 years.
Talk to your doctor about which other vaccines are right for you.
COVID-19 and Epilepsy
Available data suggests that having epilepsy does not increase the risk of getting COVID-19 or increase the severity of the disease.
- American Epilepsy Society
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Epilepsy Foundation
- National Association of Epilepsy Centers
- Purple Day