Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which electrical impulses in the brain become abnormal. Approximately 3.4 million people in the United States live with the condition. Although the cause is often unknown, it is possible to manage the condition and live a full life.
Epilepsy, also known as a seizure disorder, is characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures that cannot be attributed to another medical condition. It is a condition of the central nervous system in which brain activity becomes abnormal. In most cases, the cause is unknown, but epilepsy may sometimes be caused by an injury to the brain.
There are two major groups of seizures, identified as focal or generalized. Symptoms of a seizure can vary from staring for a short time to twitches in the arms and legs. The length of seizures can also vary from a few seconds to several minutes.
Epilepsy can have an impact on all areas of life, including family relationships, work, school and even recreation. Because epileptic seizures can be unpredictable, quality of life, emotional health, safety and productivity can be seriously affected. The burden of not knowing when or if you will become unconscious or lose control of your behavior can disrupt daily plans and activities. Generally, impairment due to epilepsy includes:
In most cases, basic seizure first aid is all that may be necessary. Most of the symptoms of epilepsy are not life threatening, and do not last a long time. Keeping the person comforted and safe should be the primary concern.
However, there are some situations in which emergency help should be called. They are:
In such cases, having a medical alert device would notify emergency workers quickly and get help to the senior right away. If the person with the seizures is alone, or with only one other person, access to the medical alert device would save time and could possibly save the person’s life.
Many people with epilepsy live very full lives, and many do so without the advantage of a medical alert device. In cases where the seizures can be predicted by knowing what triggers them, or the seizures are under control with medication, general seizure care is all that is necessary.
General seizure first aid includes keeping the person safe and comforted during the seizure.
A diagnosis of epilepsy can be frightening, and will certainly cause anxiety. The best response to this diagnosis is to learn more about the condition and how it is treated.Learn how best to manage your personal situation and learn how to develop your care team. Teach those in your circle of family and friends how to help you if a seizure occurs while they are with you.
If the anxiety of not knowing when or if a seizure will occur is not manageable, a medical alert device may be a good idea. This is a safety precaution that may save a life.