It's PURPLE Day & March is Epilepsy Awareness Month
Purple Day is a global initiative dedicated to raising epilepsy awareness, dispelling myths, and increasing support to those affected. So, let's get to know a little more about epilepsy.
What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is diagnosed when someone has a tendency to have recurrent seizures.
It is a neurological disorder and seizures are caused by a temporary disruption of the electrical activity in the brain. Approximately 3% to 3.5% of Australians will be diagnosed with epilepsy at some point in their lives and over 250,000 Australians currently live with epilepsy. Epilepsy can start at any age although it is more likely to be diagnosed in childhood or senior years.
The cause of epilepsy can be identified in about half of people with epilepsy, but the remaining half never really know why they have epilepsy.
Some known causes of epilepsy include:
stroke or brain haemorrhage
lack of oxygen to the brain for a long period (such as in birth trauma, cardiac arrest, drowning, drug overdose)
brain infections (for example meningitis, encephalitis or brain abscess)
brain abnormalities present at birth
degenerative conditions affecting the brain (such as dementia).
How do you know you have epilepsy and how can it be diagnosed?
Diagnosis is not always straightforward because seizures tend to happen randomly and are only brief. Signs and symptoms of seizures may include:
Temporary confusion or loss of time
A staring spell
Uncontrollable jerking movements of the body, arms and legs
Loss of consciousness or awareness
Sudden feelings of fear, anxiety or deja vu
Symptoms vary depending on the type of seizure, but mostly, people tend to have the same type of seizure, so the symptoms will be similar from episode to episode. Tiredness is common after a seizure.
To learn more about Epilepsy and to find more resources visit: Epilepsy Action Australia