I am supporting the St Vincent’s Hospital!
In Australia, around 250,000 people
are currently diagnosed with epilepsy – that’s over 1 per cent of the
population so chances are most people know someone with the condition. You know someone – me.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that
affects the brain. When someone has epilepsy, it means they have a tendency to
have epileptic seizures. Seizures are caused by a disruption of the electrical
activity in the brain. Epilepsy can
start at any age and there are many different types. Some types of epilepsy
last for a limited time and the person eventually stops having seizures but for
many people epilepsy is a life-long condition.
Up to 70% of people with epilepsy
become seizure free with medication, however, this means 30% do not gain full
seizure control. Even with medication, life
does not necessarily become normal due to some side effects.
In addition, some people may die during seizures
because of a condition called status epilepticus, or
as a result of a physical accident during a seizure (eg drowning). In some cases there’s no clear reason why a
person with epilepsy has died. When this happens, it’s called sudden unexpected
death in epilepsy (SUDEP). SUDEP is
rare, affecting around 1 in every 1,000 adults with epilepsy each year but it
is connected with seizures, particularly tonic-clonic seizures. No-one knows the exact cause and there
may be no single explanation. However, it is thought that a seizure may
sometimes lead to changes in the person’s heartrate or breathing. This could
cause the person to stop breathing or their heart to stop beating.
It is acknowledged that the brain is
the final frontier in medical research due to its complexity. Epilepsy is just one of many conditions of
the brain that is yet to be understood but research is global, strong and
continuing. Please help this research by
donating through my fundraising page.