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6 basic facts you should know about epilepsy

Epilepsy is a chronic disorder, the main sign of it is recurrent and unprovoked seizures. If a person has two unprovoked seizures, then the person is diagnosed with epilepsy. This means that if the cause of the seizures are untraceable then the person is epileptic.

The seizures in epilepsy may be related to a brain injury or a family tendency, but often the cause is completely unknown.

As part of International Epilepsy Day, here are some facts you should know:

Who gets Epilepsy?

Epilepsy and seizures can develop in any person at any age. Seizures and epilepsy are more common in young children and older people. Epilepsy is the 4th most common neurological condition and epilepsy affects more than 65 million people worldwide. Also, men are more likely to have it than women. Epilepsy is more likely to occur in someone who has had a brain injury.

Can Epilepsy be inherited?

Yes, those who do develop epilepsy may be more likely to have a history of seizures in their family. This family history suggests that it is easier for them to develop epilepsy than for people with no genetic tendency. However it is important to remember that epilepsy is more likely to occur in a brother or sister if the child with epilepsy has generalized seizures. Remember, epilepsy is not contagious and people can’t catch it like a cold.

Most children of people with epilepsy do not develop seizures or epilepsy. However, since genes are passed down through families, it is possible.

Will Epilepsy ever go away?

About 6 out of 10 people diagnosed with epilepsy can become seizure free within a few years with proper treatment. Many of these people will never have any more seizures. If seizures go away, you may be able to stop taking  seizure medicine (with your doctor’s advice) if you have been seizure free for 2 to 5 years. So it is possible but not guaranteed even with medication.

Dos and Donts of Epileptic seizures

1. You can’t swallow your tongue during a seizure. It’s physically impossible.

2. You should NEVER force something into the mouth of someone having a seizure. Absolutely not! Forcing something into the mouth of someone having a seizure is a good way to chip teeth, cut gums, or even break someone’s jaw.

3. The correct first aid is simple. Just gently roll the person on one side, support their head, protect from injury, and make sure their breathing is okay.

Any facts we have missed out? We would be happy to hear from you. Share with us.

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