National Epilepsy Awareness Month
National Epilepsy Awareness Month takes place annually in November to educate people on epilepsy’s causes and symptoms. An estimated 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some point in their life. Epilepsy affects more than 65 million people globally. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder where abnormal brain activity causes seizers, unusual behavior, sensations, or loss of awareness. Epilepsy affects all genders, races, ethnic backgrounds, and ages. Epilepsy can present in a variety of different symptoms, making it increasingly important to be educated on the disorder. To be diagnosed with epilepsy, one must have at least two seizures, without a known cause, at least 24 hours apart. Having one seizure does not mean a person has epilepsy. If diagnosed with epilepsy there is effective treatment and medications. Some people may need lifelong treatment, others may outgrow the disorder with age. This November spread awareness of epilepsy by learning about the disorder.
People with epilepsy can stare blankly for a few seconds or twitch their arms and legs during a seizure. Seizures can present with a variety of signs and symptoms.
A staring spell
Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs
Loss of consciousness or awareness
Psychological symptoms such as fear, anxiety or déjà vu
Some cases of epilepsy have been linked to the causes below. For some cases, the cause remains unknown.
In cases of epilepsy, the factors below have been seen to increase ones risk of epilepsy.
Most common in children
Treatment can help people have fewer seizures or stop seizures completely.
Medicines such as, anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs)
Surgery where a small part of the brain is removed that is causing the seizures
Vagus nerve stimulation, where a small electrical device is inserted under the skin to help control seizures
Ketogenic diet, a specialized diet high in fats, and low in carbohydrates and protein
See a doctor immediately if you experience any signs or symptoms of epilepsy.
1. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Epilepsy.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 7 Oct. 2021, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/epilepsy/symptoms-causes/syc-20350093.
2. “Recognizing November as Epilepsy Awareness Month.” Recognizing November as Epilepsy Awareness Month | Valley Children's Healthcare, Valley Children's Healthcare, https://www.valleychildrens.org/neurosciences/epilepsy-awareness-month.
3. “Treatment - Epilepsy.” NHS Choices, NHS, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/epilepsy/treatment/.