SUDEP Action Day on October 18 aims to spread awareness on epilepsy risks, causes and precautions. Learn about the warning signs and symptoms of SUDEP.

October 18 is observed as SUDEP Action Day, a global initiative aimed at raising awareness about Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). SUDEP refers to the sudden and unexplained death of an individual with epilepsy. It emphasizes on the need for greater understanding of the risks associated with this condition. Dr Kandraju Sai Satish, Consultant Neurologist & Epileptologist at Yashoda Hospitals, sheds light on the critical aspects of SUDEP.

Causes of SUDEP

Dr Sai Satish explains, “SUDEP remains enigmatic in its origins. While the exact causes are unknown, there are hypotheses suggesting the involvement of cardiovascular and respiratory mechanisms. Observations of reduced heart rate during seizures and instances of asystole indicate cardiovascular factors, while respiratory mechanisms involve cases where seizures lead to a cessation of breathing, resulting in a drop in oxygen saturation and eventual death.”


Vulnerable groups

Individuals with generalized tonic-clonic seizures, uncontrolled seizures, nocturnal seizures during sleep and those requiring higher medication doses to manage epilepsy are at a higher risk of SUDEP. Recognizing these risk factors becomes crucial for early intervention and care.

Warning signs

Dr Sai Satish emphasizes, “Regrettably, there are no specific warning signs for SUDEP. Every seizure carries the potential to progress to SUDEP. However, active intervention during a seizure significantly mitigates this risk. For those unable to monitor individuals with epilepsy in real-time, seizure-detecting devices, such as various wearable gadgets available today, play a crucial role in identifying seizures and alerting caregivers.”

SUDEP Action Day serves as a reminder of the need for continued awareness, research and support for those living with epilepsy and their families. Understanding the risks and taking proactive measures can contribute to a safer environment for individuals affected by epilepsy.