Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the United States, affecting 1 in 26 people. As a neurological disorder, the condition affects the nervous system. Epilepsy is best known for its presentation of seizures. Those diagnosed with epilepsy have typically had at least two seizures not attributed to another cause such as drugs. Epilepsy can be a chronic condition which may need lifelong management.
Epilepsy currently affects 65 million people around the world, and more than 3 million people of all ages in the United States live with seizures. Despite the prevalence of this condition, epilepsy is not entirely understood. Most medications for epilepsy are taken daily to prevent seizures from occurring, but they do not by themselves cure a patient with epilepsy.
Seizures & Treatment
Seizures can look different from person to person. Seizures are disruptions in the brain’s electrical activity. Depending on what part of the brain is affected, a seizure can affect different parts of the body. Most people think of seizures as shaking or jerking body movements. This is certainly one way that seizures present. However, some seizures also result in staring, confusion, anxiety, and loss of consciousness.
Treatment usually focuses on controlling the seizures. Some people are able to manage their seizures with medication. However, understanding epilepsy and treatment is rarely simple. Everyone responds differently to medications, so it is often a process of trial and error to find the best combination of medications for an individual. Some people have side effects which limit the viability of certain medications while others adjust well.
When medications fail, there are other options for epilepsy and treatment. Some people are eligible for surgery. Newer treatments aim to control the brain’s electrical activity with device implants. All those who live with epilepsy will have to discover their own path to managing their condition.
Living with Epilepsy
One of the most difficult things about epilepsy is trying to understand what caused it in the first place. In some cases, epilepsy develops after a brain injury. For others, it may run in the family. Age may also be a contributing factor for some people. However, in many cases, there are no known risk factors or definite answers to explain the development of the condition.
It starts with the question, “What is epilepsy?” It ends with camps for kids and families, medical clinics, and community education. Contact the Epilepsy Foundation Texas to learn more.