“Epilepsy is More than Seizures”
Despite being one of the world’s oldest known medical conditions, public fear and misunderstanding about epilepsy persists, making many people reluctant to talk about it. That reluctance leads to lives lived in the shadows, lack of understanding about individual risk, discrimination in workplaces and communities, and a lack of funding for new therapies research. People with epilepsy die prematurely at a higher rate compared to the general population. The most common cause of death from epilepsy is sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, known as SUDEP. For many people living with epilepsy, the misconceptions and discrimination can be more difficult to overcome than the seizures themselves.
Credits: Epilepsy Foundation
Epilepsy is a chronic medical problem in which a person presents with recurrent unprovoked seizures. The estimated prevalence of epilepsy is 8 per 1000 people in Nigeria. Seizures are caused by abnormal firing of nerve cells on one or both sides of the brain. There are two main types of seizures, focal and generalized seizures. Focal seizures start in a particular part of the brain. Symptom vary depending on the part affected.
Symptoms include appearing dazed or confused, rhythmic movements or jerking of one side, repetitively picking at clothes, lip-smacking, wandering around confused. At times, this may progress to a generalized seizure. Generalized seizures involve both sides of the brain. During a generalized seizure, consciousness may be impaired or lost. Their arms and legs may stiffen and jerk rhythmically. Consciousness gradually returns at the end. They may have urinary or fecal incontinence.
Other types of generalized seizures include sudden loss of tone, sudden jerks, sudden whole body stiffening, or starring without memory of the events.
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