National Epilepsy Week

Epilepsy is still the most common, serious neurological condition in the world but it impacts each person’s life in a unique and individual way.

From May 20 to May 26, National Epilepsy Week will be taking place to raise awareness for those affected by epilepsy, what epilepsy is, who’s affected and what can be done to help those who suffer from this condition.
This week raises awareness of epilepsy with the aim to banish the myths surrounding it. It also highlights the help and support that is available to improve the lives of everyone affected by epilepsy.

epilepsy awareness campaign

May 20 to May 26
NATIONAL EPILEPSY WEEK
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epilepsy awareness campaign

From May 20 to May 26, National Epilepsy Week will be taking place to raise awareness for those affected by epilepsy, what epilepsy is, who’s affected and what can be done to help those who suffer from this condition.
May 20 to May 26
NATIONAL EPILEPSY WEEK
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Days
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This week raises awareness of epilepsy with the aim to banish the myths surrounding it. It also highlights the help and support that is available to improve the lives of everyone affected by epilepsy.

Epilepsy

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epilepsy purple brain ribbon
A neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions, associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

HOW COMMON IS EPILEPSY?

Epilepsy is the most common, serious neurological disorder worldwide. More than half a million people in the UK have epilepsy, which equates to 1 in 100 people.
Epilepsy can affect anyone, of any age, race, or sex, at any time from any walk of life.
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People living with Epilepsy in the UK
  • 1 in 10 will have a Seizure in their Lifetime
  • In the West Midlands 53,000 suffer from Epilepsy
  • Epilepsy is the 4th Most Common Neurological Condition
  • There are 600,000 People Suffering from Epilepsy in the UK
  • Around the World an Estimated 65 Million People have Epilepsy at any given time
  • Approximately 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime
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People living with Epilepsy in the UK

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

  • 1 in 10 will have a Seizure in their Lifetime
  • In the West Midlands 53,000 suffer from Epilepsy
  • Epilepsy is the 4th Most Common Neurological Condition
  • There are 600,000 People Suffering from Epilepsy in the UK
  • Around the World an Estimated 65 Million People have Epilepsy at any given time
  • Approximately 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime

TYPES OF SEIZURES

There are two main types:
types of seizures
GENERALISED SEIZURES
Primary generalised seizures involve the whole brain and therefore involve the whole body. There are many types of generalised seizures – some convulsive, others non-convulsive.
  • Tonic clonic – Muscle stiffening (tonic stage) and fall to the ground, followed by jerking/convulsive movements (clonic stage). Can last several minutes (previously known as ‘grand-mal seizures’).
  • Tonic – Muscle stiffening, fall to the ground.
  • Atonic – Loss of muscle tone, fall to the ground. Recovery usually swift.

  • Myoclonic – Muscle jerks. Loss of consciousness is usually so brief it is hardly noticeable.
  • Absence – Often mistaken for day dreaming. Person goes into brief trance-like state (previously known as petit-mal seizures).

FOCAL / PARTIAL SEIZURES
There are two types of focal seizures: simple focal seizures and complex focal seizures.
  • Simple focal seizure – Doctors also refer to simple focal seizures as focal aware seizures.

    During a simple focal seizure, a person remains conscious throughout the event and remembers it when it is over. The episode lasts less than a minute.

  • Complex partial seizure – Doctors also refer to complex partial seizures as focal impaired awareness seizures.

    When a person has a complex partial seizure, they lose consciousness during the episode and do not remember the seizure after it is over. The seizure may last for more than a minute.

COMMON SYMPTOMS OF SEIZURES

  • Confusion
  • Wandering
  • Jerks & twitches
  • Shaking or falling
  • Picking or lip smacking
  • Staring & unresponsiveness
  • Whole body convulsions – grand mal seizure
MEDICATION
Epilepsy cannot be cured with medication. However, with the right type and strength of medication, the majority of people with epilepsy do not have seizures. The medicines work by stabilising the electrical activity of the brain. You need to take medication every day to prevent seizures.
Deciding on which medicine to prescribe depends on such things as:
  • Your type of epilepsy
  • Your age
  • Other medicines that you may take for other conditions
  • Possible side effects
  • Whether you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy
epilepsy medication
A low dose is usually started. The aim is to control seizures at the lowest dose possible. If you have further seizures, the dose is usually increased. There is a maximum dose allowed for each medicine.
SURGERY
Surgery is only possible for a minority of people with epilepsy and it may be considered when medication fails to prevent seizures, especially focal seizures (used to be called partial seizures). Only a small number of people with epilepsy are suitable for surgery and, even for those are, there are no guarantees of success. Also, there are risks from operations. However, surgical techniques continue to improve and surgery may become an option for more and more people in the future.
  • Multiple Subpial Transections

– Multiple subpial transection (MST) is a surgical technique in which the connections of the epileptic focus are partially cut without resecting it. Palliative surgery for seizure reduction, generally patients does not become seizure free.

multiple subpial transections epilepsy
  • Resective Surgery

Temporal Lobotomy
• Removal of a portion of the temporal lobe of the brain
• It is the most common type of epilepsy surgery
• After surgery, 60% to 70% of patients are seizure free

Frontal Lobotomy
• Removal of a portion of the frontal lobe
• It is the second most common type of epilepsy surgery
• After temporal lobotomy 30% to 50% of patients are free of seizures that impair consciousness or cause abnormal movements

  • Hemispherectomy

– The surgeon removes all or portions of the affected hemisphere. The surgeon also gently separates the hemispheres to access and out the corpus-callostum.

  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)

– A treatment for epilepsy where a small generator is implanted under the skin below the left collarbone. The vagus nerve is stimulated to reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures. This can be suitable for some people with seizures that are difficult to control with medication. The ketogenic diet is a diet very high in fat, low in protein and almost carbohydrate-free. This can be effective in the treatment of difficult-to-control seizures in some children.

vagus nerve stimulation epilepsy

How it works: VNS Therapy is delivered through a device (generator and lead) that sends mild pulses through the vagus nerve to areas of the brain known to be associated with seizures. VNS Therapy delivers these periodic pulses all day, in an effort to control your seizures.

  • Corpus – Colostomy

– This is an operation that severs (cuts) the corpus callosum, interrupting the spread of seizures from hemisphere to hemisphere. Seizures generally do not completely stop after this procedure. Seizures usually become less severe, as they cannot spread to the opposite side of the brain.

corpus callostomy epilepsy
KETOGENIC DIET

The “classic” ketogenic diet is a special high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that helps to control seizures in some people with epilepsy. It is prescribed by a physician and carefully monitored by a dietitian. It is usually used in children with seizures that do not respond to medications. It is stricter than the modified Atkins diet, requiring careful measurements of calories, fluids, and proteins. Foods are weighed and measured.

ketogenic diet epilepsy
  • The name ketogenic means that it produces ketones in the body. (keto = ketone; genic = producing) Ketones are formed when the body uses fat for its source of energy.
  • Usually the body uses carbohydrates (such as sugar, bread, pasta) for its fuel. Because the ketogenic diet is very low in carbohydrates, fats become the primary fuel instead. The body can work very well on ketones (and fats).
What foods are allowed on a ketogenic diet?
Foods that are generally allowed include high-fat meats, fish, oils, nuts, high-fat dairy such as cheese, and low-carb vegetables. 
Unsurprisingly, reducing carb levels means cutting out bread, pasta, rice, and most conventional baked goods. However, achieving such low levels of carbs also means skipping legumes, root vegetables, most fruits and starchy veggies, such as potatoes. It is recommended that carbs are limited to 30g for men and 20g for women per day.
WHAT TO DO IF SOMEONE HAS A SEIZURE?
DOs
DON’Ts

QUIZ TIME!

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HELP CHANGE LIVES TODAY

Few people are actually willing to step up and talk about Epilepsy. We need to make the world aware of the impact Epilepsy has on so many and find a cure. Without a cure, there are far too many people who will never have relief from seizures.

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