Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with epilepsy? You’re not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 3.4 million people in the U.S. have active epilepsy, approximately 1.2% of the U.S. population. Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes seizures and can affect people in very different ways. It can be caused by a number of brain conditions which can also affect how the seizure presents itself.
What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a common condition that causes repeated seizures. Seizures may cause problems with muscle control, movement, speech, vision or awareness. The seizures usually don’t last very long, but they can be scary. Treatment usually works to control and reduce seizures.
Epilepsy affects each person differently. Some people have only a few seizures. Others get them more often. If you know what triggers a seizure, you may be able to avoid having one.
How is epilepsy treated?
You can take medicines to control and reduce seizures. Which type you use depends on the type of seizure. You and your doctor will need to find the right combination, schedule and dose of medicine. If medicine alone doesn’t help, your doctor may suggest a special diet or surgery to help reduce seizures.
How can you care for yourself when you have epilepsy?
To help control your seizures, follow your treatment plan. If you take medicine to control seizures, take it exactly as prescribed.
Medicine works best if you take the right amount on the schedule your doctor sets up. Following this schedule keeps the right level of medicine in your body. Even missing just a few doses can allow seizures to happen.
As you follow your treatment plan, you can also try to figure out and avoid things that may make you more likely to have a seizure. These may include:
- Not getting enough sleep.
- Using drugs or alcohol.
- Skipping meals.
If you keep having seizures despite treatment, keep a record of them. Note the date, time of day and any details about the seizure that you can remember. Your doctor can use this information to plan or adjust your medicine or other treatment. The record can also help your doctor figure out what kinds of seizures you are having.
How can you stay safe when you have epilepsy?
- Be sure that any doctor who treats you knows that you have epilepsy. And let the doctor know what medicines you take, if any.
- Wear a medical ID bracelet. If you have a seizure or accident that leaves you unconscious or unable to speak for yourself, the bracelet will let those treating you know that you have epilepsy. It will also list any medicines you take to control your seizures. That way, you won’t be given any medicines that may react badly with those already in your body.
- Ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to do activities like driving or swimming.
- Create a seizure first-aid plan with your friends and family. The plan will help them know how to help you. The kind of plan you need can depend on the kind of seizures you have. Your doctor can tell you more about this.
ChristianaCare Epilepsy Center and Epilepsy Monitoring Unit
Our team of medical experts can diagnose epilepsy and help to identify the cause of seizures in our state-of-the-art Epilepsy Monitoring Unit. Through advanced computer-based monitoring equipment designed for the evaluation of seizure disorders, our team can monitor and record seizures as they are happening and during recovery in a safe and comfortable setting.
ChristianaCare has the only adult National Association of Epilepsy Center designation in the state and can give advanced epilepsy care right here in Delaware.
We use a patient-focused approach to provide ongoing expert care including treatment, education and medication management.
Learn more about the ChristianaCare Epilepsy Center and Epilepsy Monitoring Unit and schedule an appointment at 302-623-3017.