What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. It’s also called a seizure disorder. When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy.

A seizure happens when a brief, strong surge of electrical activity affects part or all of the brain.  1 in 10 people will have a single seizure in their lifetime.  1 in 100 people are currently living with epilepsy.  1 in 26 will be diagnosed with epilepsy during their lifetime.

Causes

In about 70% of the cases, the cause is unknown. Of the remaining 30%, the following are the most common causes:

•   Brain Tumor and/or Stroke
•   Traumatic Brain Injury – the more severe the injury, the greater risk of developing epilepsy
•   Poisoning – lead poisoning or substance abuse
•   Infection – viral encephalitis, lupus erythematosus, meningitis
•   Maternal Injury – infection or systemic illness that affects the developing brain of a fetus during pregnancy

Seizure Types

For more information on what seizures look like and how you should respond to a seizure, please click here for Online Materials, Brochures, and Videos.

•    Generalized Tonic Clonic also known as Grand Mal
•    Absence also known as Petit Mal
•    Complex Partial also known as psychomotor or temporal lobe
•    Atonic also known as drop seizures
•    Myoclonic
•    Infantile Spasms

SUDEP

Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy refers to the death of a person with epilepsy without warning and where no cause of death can be found.  Recent studies estimate the rate of SUDEP is about 1 per 1,000 people living with epilepsy each year.  In people with frequent Tonic Clonic seizures (convulsions) who are poorly controlled with medications, the rate may be 1 in 100 per year.

NonEpileptic Seizures (NES)

Nonepileptic seizures or events are diagnosed in 20-30% of patients seen at epilepsy centers for intractable seizures.  NES are attacks that may look like epileptic seizures but are not caused by abnormal brain electrical discharges.  They are a manifestation of psychological distress.  A physician may suspect NES when the seizures have unusual features such as type of movements, duration, triggers and frequency.  NES can pose a frustrating challenge in diagnosis and management.

 

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Connect with the epilepsy community and help us raise funds and awareness at the Strides for Epilepsy 5K Colorado Springs on Saturday, September 27th.

Learn how to Manage Students with Seizures through our FREE training program for school nurses - available online or in-person. Contact Marcee Peterson for more information.

Activate your political voice by speaking out to our local and national representatives about current legislation that would expand the availability of Cannabidiol for the treatment of Epilepsy.

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