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Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes recurring and unprovoked seizures. It’s the fourth most common neurological disorder in the United States. Jacqueline French, a Neurology professor at New York University’s Langone Medical Center and the chief medical officer for the Epilepsy Foundation, says about 1 in 26 people in the country will develop epilepsy sometime in their life.

“It’s actually, and people are kind of surprised by this, it’s more common than Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Autism combined,” said French.

Epilepsy is different for everyone who has it. There are many different types of seizures, but the three main groups are focal, generalized, and unknown.

“Seizures can be small and subtle or they can be very big and very obvious,” French continued. But for people out there, one thing that they should keep in mind. There’s a little phrase that we use. It’s the 5 S’s. Short, Sudden, Strange, Similar Spells,” said French.

The theme of this year’s national epilepsy awareness month is “There is no NEAM without ME.” It’s meant to bring awareness to epilepsy by the individuals who have it.

“Everybody should be involved in this. This is people with epilepsy, their families, their caregivers, and the community. This is about collaboration and support,” said French.

And French says since epilepsy is so common, people should care, even if they don’t have the disorder. She says many people don’t realize how common epilepsy is because there is a lot of stigma surrounding it.

“People see seizures happening,” French explained. “They don’t understand that they’re seizures and they may actually be very worried, concerned, scared, about even being around those people. It is such a common condition that probably somebody very close has epilepsy. And so you may not know who you’re helping that’s a close relation or a friend or a family member, but they are there, and so that’s why we should all care.”

The Epilepsy Foundation offers online seizure recognition and first aid training to increase the skills in detecting seizures and administering first aid.

 

Source: kxnet.com, Lauren Davis

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