Epilepsy advice with some links for support and breif description on the condition

Epilepsy is a condition that causes seizures or black outs and usually the person involved will have no recollection of the event after it has happened, which can be quite upsetting for the individual.

History

Epilepsy has been mentioned in history as far back as the Babylonians; obviously back then it was thought to be a demonic possession and the different seizures that people would suffer depended on the type of demon that possessed them! The Greeks believed it was a punishment from the Gods particularly the God Selene who could also tell you in a dream how to remove the curse. It wasn’t until Hippocrates who in 400BC was known as the father of medicine, believed that diet could help stop symptoms of Epilepsy, he was amongst the first to consider it to be a disorder rather than possession.

Throughout history the views on this condition has changed as have the way it’s been treated. Romans thought that eating parts of the body might help so they would suggest eating someone’s Liver. In the Middle Ages if you were of Noble birth you would be considered to be a higher insightful being…if you were common then you were a curse. In 1849 Robert Bentley Todd first used Electro therapy. In 1939 the first drug tests were conducted to try to find a cure. Even as the world progressed and moved on, Epilepsy still sadly made people wary and frightened.

People simply do not understand it and the symptoms of the condition can upset people to watch. Saying that though in this current day and age and in the future there is much support for the condition and funding into trying to find a cure. Sites such as:-

https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/involved/branches?gclid=CjwKEAjwucmoBRDmysGsgbDr5j0SJAAxL9abHoCCXkCefo6UBB3_vIsdmV2CLwXmwKvQ7yANWSxMUBoCD5Hw_wcB

http://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/help-and-support#.VRKWObBajmI

The above and many more sites and societies out there all offer support and advice that can be vital in understand this condition, and much needed for those that suffer from it.

Symptoms

There are different types of seizures that a person can have, Doctors class them as to the part of the brain that they affect:-

  • Partial (simple/complex) – Only a part of the brain
  • General – The whole or most of the brain
  • Unclassified – The seizure doesn’t fit into the above categories

A simple Partial Seizure can happen when the person is fully conscious and the symptoms are usually a warning sign that a more severe seizure is on the way. They might include pins and needles in the arm, Deja-vu type feeling, and anxious feeling rising in the belly, stiffness in the body or part of body.

Complex Partial seizures include a person making random noises, pulling at clothes, smacking lips, chewing, swallowing, moving around or staying in an awkward position. The person will not be aware nor remember the event after this has happened. My Auntie suffers from these type of seizures so I’ve witnessed it first hand, but with the right support around and with the knowledge of what it is and what to do the person can be safe.

There are a few different types of General Seizures from Myoclonic Seizures where your limbs might jerk about for a few moments then return to normal. Absences – which effects children and adults and causes people to loose awareness for a few seconds and can happen a number of times over the day. The most commonly thought of epileptic fit as shown of TV for example is a Tonic-clonic seizure. The person will fall to the ground, writhe and go stiff for more than a minute.

There are many types of fits and seizures that effect people in different ways, from muscles going limp to going stiff and most of them can cause harm to a person if they fall wrong or are near objects that could potentially hurt them. So to be safe and ready it’s best to make sure the home of someone suffering from this condition is as safe as possible. In the kitchen you can use a Kettle tipper (See our selection at www.abilityaware.com) Use plastic utensils, cook more with the microwave than an oven if that’s possible. Also if you’re prone to falling, then look at getting carpet rather than tiled/wooden flooring and alarms on things such as chairs. Ask your neighbour or a friend to keep a key to your house to check on you if you think that would be necessary. There are lots of ways to keep yourself safe and go about your normal routine of day to day.

Try this page for more info http://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/alarms-and-safety-aids#.VRPjLrBajIU

Causes

There are different causes that bring on a seizure, the one you might hear the most of is when there is about to be a scene on the TV where flashing lights are involved and a warning is given, but actually a very small number of people are affected by this type.

  • Stress
  • Heat
  • Poor sleeping pattern
  • Drinking alcohol or taking drugs
  • Some women suffer more during their monthly periods
  • Flashing lights (only 5% of people with epilepsy, and is known as photosensitive epilepsy)

Diagnosis

Don’t be deterred if it takes more than once to get help. Usually you’ll need to have had more than one episode, and therefore a bit more knowledge of symptoms and what’s happened, in order for tests to be booked in.

After a chat with your Doctor, you might be booked in for an EEG – electric brain scan to observe any odd activity and also a MRI scan. Blood tests are usually taken too. One test on its own will not tell them if you have Epilepsy but all the information gathered together will show them the overall picture of what’s going on.

Who can support you?

info@eruk.org.uk Tel - 020 8747 5024 www.epilepsysociety.org.uk Tel - 01494 601 400

It’s a life changing bit of health information to be told and at first you might feel alone, but you’re not.

Things you can do for yourself

If you’re anything like myself or the hundreds of people I’ve seen battling with their own conditions, then you’re going to want to know how you can gain some control back and help yourself.

Diet and exercise is important when dealing with Epilepsy, not because they’ll stop them but because it will help you fuel your brain and body with nutrients it needs to cope and make you feel good at the same time. You need to include fats, carbs, protein, fruit and veg. Steady releasing energy foods are good such as yoghurt, potatoes, wholegrains and pasta. Fish such as Mackerel, salmon and sardines are great for Omega 3 and good for your skin and energy. Try to avoid white based food, biscuits and high sugar drinks that will make your energy peak then drop. You want to keep everything steady, positive, relaxed and balanced.

Studies have shown that people with Epilepsy exercise less than those that don’t have it, but other studies have proven that people who did exercise suffered less with seizures, muscle pain, anxiety and depression….plus it’s great for your heart and is just overall brilliant to do for yourself.

If you’re worried about having an attack whilst you’re exercising when you are in a vulnerable place outside then try to look at this site for more info

https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/sports-leisure

Alternatively and I quite like these ideas, you could try holistic therapies. Before medicine went technical and scientific, humans used to practice holistic therapies all the time and now they’re back in full force. Try Reflexology, head massages, meditation. You could do yoga as part of your exercises. There’s oils and smells too that can all relax you and keep you in a peaceful, balanced state of mind.

These are all just brief suggestions, I advise you always speak to your GP before starting anything and clearing up any questions you might have about your own personal needs. Ensure the people around you all know what your plans are.

I hope there’s something in the above that helps you, if you have any advice that you think I could put on our social media pages then please email me at Marketing@abilityaware.com and I’d love to hear it.

Danielle Bessant.

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