Do you ever wonder about Epilepsy?
What is Epilepsy? What are some myths about epilepsy?
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What is epilepsy? Epilepsy is a neurological disorder caused by disrupted nerve activity in the brain. This leads to different types of seizures, depending on the person. Some seizures involve convulsions and unconsciousness, while others may simple involve staring into the distance for a period of time. Epilepsy can occur at any age, but is very common during the adolescent years due to the rapidly changing hormones. It is possible for people to outgrow their epilepsy, but if they are not seizure free after the early twenties they will most likely have it for the rest of their lives.
How is someone diagnosed with epilepsy? After experiencing a seizure, an EEG is used for diagnoses. EEG stands for electroencephalogram. Wires, connected to a computer, are attached all around a person's head. The computer detects any disruptions in brain wave patterns or electrical activity. These are tested by putting the individual through events that could potentially cause a seizure, such as strobe lights or a lack of oxygen to the brain by blowing air frequently out of your mouth. If abnormalities are found, the person will most likely be diagnosed with epilepsy. The type of epilepsy that is diagnosed will depend on the specific trigger/s that cause each individual's seizures. Medication treatment will depend on the same factor. If the EEG shows no abnormalities, however then the reported seizure would be considered one aside from having epilepsy. Having a seizure does not always mean you have epilepsy!
What are some myths regarding individuals with epilepsy? A common belief is that you should hold a person's mouth open with an object while they are having a seizure, so that they don't swallow their tongue. In reality, it is physically impossible to swallow your tongue, and the placed object will most likely just injure the person's mouth. Another myth is that you should always call 911 when you witness someone having a seizure. The truth is, however, that you should really call 911 if the person turns blue or has a seizure that lasts five or more minutes. Although still frightening, many seizures can end quickly and be more easily recovered from. A third myth about epilepsy, is that epilepsy can be cured. Unfortunately, even though there are medications to control an epileptic's seizures, there is no sure cure to stop it.
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2. If you are a bystander while someone is having a seizure, roll them onto their side so any liquid can come out of their mouth, make sure any harmful objects are moved away from them, and let them have the seizure. You cannot stop it, but you can prevent any additional harm to the person. Lastly, be aware as to if the person turns blue or id their seizure lasts five or more minutes. If so, call 911.