20 Interesting Facts About Epilepsy + Symptoms, Causes, Statistics, Types, Treatment, Prevention

Here Are The Top 20 Interesting Facts About Epilepsy:

#1 Epilepsy, also known as seizure disorder, is a disorder described by recurring seizures. It is a condition which affects the brain and causes repeated seizures.

What Causes A Seizure?

#2 During a seizure, the electrical impulses are disrupted, causing the body to behave strangely.

#3 The severity of the seizures can differ from individual to individual. Some people lose consciousness and have convulsions, while others simply experience a ”trance-like” state for a few seconds or minutes.

#4 When a person has a convulsive seizure, her arms and legs will move in a jerking fashion. This is actually the muscle response to the excessive electrical discharge occurring in her brain.

#5 As long as the sufferer is not in any danger (like near an object which can hurt them), it is essential to let the seizure take its course. Restraining the sufferer may actually hurt him.

#6 It is one of the world’s oldest recognized disorder, with written records dating back to 4000 BC. It is not a type of intellectual disability or mental illness. Also, most kinds of epilepsy do not affect how well you learn or think, however, some may be linked to behavioral and cognitive problems and mental health disorders.

#7 It can start at any age, however, it typically starts either in people over 60 or in childhood. It is frequently lifelong, nevertheless, it can occasionally get slowly better over time. Having this medical condition does not interfere with the reproductive process of either women or men.

Statistics

#8 In the US, more than 2.5 million individuals have this condition with about 181,000 new cases occurring every year. Moreover, approximately 0.6 percent of children aged 0-17 years have this medical condition. This is close to 400,000 children with the majority of them can control their symptoms and lead healthy productive lives.

#9 According to the Epilepsy Foundation of America, it is the 3rd most common neurological disorder in the United States, after stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. This condition costs the US about $15.5 billion a year.

#10 More than 250,000 Australians are currently living with this condition and about 3 to 3.5 percent of Australians will experience it at some point during their lives. About 0.6 percent of the Canadian population also has it. This includes all the people who had a seizure within the past 5 years or who currently take anticonvulsant medicine.

#11 Worldwide, approximately 65 million individuals have this condition and 80 percent of them live in developing countries.

Types

#12 There are 3 major groups of epilepsy, depending on what caused this medical condition:

  1. Idiopathic epilepsy – when no apparent cause can be found.
  2. Cryptogenic epilepsy – when no medical evidence of damage to the brain can be found, however, other symptoms, like – learning difficulties, hints that the damage to the brain has occurred.
  3. Symptomatic epilepsy – when the symptoms are caused by disruption or damage to the brain.

Symptoms

#13 The principal symptom is repeated seizures. Furthermore, if one or more of the following symptoms are present, the sufferer should see a healthcare specialist, particularly if they recur:

  • legs, arms, or body jerk;
  • peculiar changes in senses, like – touch, smell, and sound;
  • the individuals become fearful for no apparent reason;
  • repetitive movements which seem inappropriate;
  • for a short time, the person seems unable to communicate;
  • sudden bouts of chewing for no clear reason;
  • the sufferer suddenly falls, without any apparent reason;
  • the person suddenly becomes stiff;
  • for a short period of time, the sufferer is unresponsive to questions;
  • intermittent fainting spells;
  • short spells of a blackout;
  • a convulsion with no fever.

Causes

#14 The causes of symptomatic epilepsy may include:

  • a brain tumor;
  • certain genetic syndromes;
  • an infection of the brain, like – encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), meningitis, or neurocysticercosis;
  • a stroke which restricts the amount of oxygen to the brain;
  • a severe head injury;
  • genetic conditions or congenital abnormalities with associated brain malformations;
  • brain damage from loss of oxygen or trauma during birth.

#15 It cannot be ”caught” by coming into contact with someone who has seizures and is not contagious.

Triggers

#16 Common triggers may include:

  • overeating;
  • skipping meals;
  • a regular intake of alcohol and caffeine;
  • some medicines and drugs;
  • flashing lights or bright lights;
  • emotional stress;
  • high temperature;
  • lack of sleep.

Sudden Unexpected Death

#17 Epilepsy-related causes of death account for approximately 40 percent of mortality in individuals with this medical condition and may include:

  • treatment-related death (side effects of medicines);
  • suicide;
  • status epilepticus (continuous seizure activity for five minutes or more without the return of consciousness);
  • accidents during an epileptic attack which may include – drowning, trauma, choking, or burning;
  • sudden unexpected death in epilepsy;
  • death caused by the underlying neurologic disorder in symptomatic epilepsy.

Treatment

#18 In the present day, more than 20 antiepileptic medicines are used to treat this medical condition. The majority of patients can successfully control their seizures with medication, vagal nerve stimulation (a stimulator device is implanted under the skin in the chest), surgery, or some combination of these therapies.

#19 Drug therapy is usually the first to be tried. Surgery has been an accepted form of treatment, mainly when drugs don’t work properly to control the symptoms.

Prevention

#20 Here are 10 methods which may help reduce the risk of having this condition:

  1. Eat a healthy diet, focused on organic fresh fruits and vegetables combined with seeds, legumes, spices, and nuts.
  2. Avoid playing video games and watching TV.
  3. Reduce your time spent on social media, especially before going to bed.
  4. Avoid bright, flashing lights (like – smartphones).
  5. Avoid alcoholic beverages.
  6. Avoid foods and drinks that contain caffeine.
  7. Practice daily stress management methods, like – mindfulness meditation, Tai Chi, or yoga.
  8. Get plenty of sleep each night (minimum 7 hours).
  9. Do physical activity daily – minimum 90 minutes of walking.
  10. Spend time in nature.
References

https://www.epilepsy.com/make-difference/research-and-new-therapies/clinical-trials-portal-overview
https://www.journals.elsevier.com/epilepsy-research
https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00013845
https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1184846-workup