Q. What is Epilepsy?
A. Epilepsy is defined as a tendency to have recurrent seizures - often called fits or convulsions. A seizure is caused by a sudden burst of excess electrical activity in the brain, causing a short disruption in 'messages' passing between brain cells which results in the messages either stopping or becoming confused.
Q. How common is Epilepsy?
A. Epilepsy is the most common neurological condition, apart from migraine in the UK. Estimates suggest that 450,000 people in the UK have epilepsy.
There are 40 known types of epilepsy. Photosensitive epilepsy affects more girls than boys and is prevalent in 5% of all people with epilepsy.
Q. What causes Epilepsy?
A. For 6 out of 10 people, there is no known cause - this is called idiopathic epilepsy. A head injury, meningitis, needing oxygen at birth, brain tumour, brain haemorrhage or stroke, can contribute to epilepsy developing - this is known as symptomatic epilepsy. Some people have a susceptibility to epilepsy because of additional circumstances that increase the risk of developing seizures.
Around 25% of people who experience a stroke develop epilepsy as a result of the stroke.
Seizures vary - from a momentary loss of awareness to convulsive jerking of limbs. In the UK, people are not diagnosed with epilepsy after just one seizure.
Q. Is there medical treatment for Epilepsy?
A. Yes, if you speak to a Consultant Neurologist they will put you on medication if this is appropriate.
Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP)
Around 1000 people, including children, die as a result of a seizure every year. The cause of SUDEP is not known but there are certain risk factors that are recognised.
Q. Who can I contact for more information on Epilepsy?
A. Epilepsy Action
New Anstey House Gate Way Drive Yeadon Leeds LS19 7XY
T: 0113 210 8800 Help; 0808 800 5050
National Society for Epilepsy
Chesham Lane Chalfont St Peter Bucks SL9 0J
T: 01494 601300 Help; 01494 601400
Find what you need fast in our directory of conditions, services and support. Search by keyword or A-Z of conditions.A-Z of Conditions