The month of November is recognized as National Epilepsy Awareness Month. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime. In addition to this, 3.4 million Americans currently live with epilepsy. This means that epilepsy is not rare and is more common than most people think. Since millions of Americans live with epilepsy, it is important to understand the disease and how it affects people. National Epilepsy Month is important because it is a time dedicated to learning about epilepsy and raising awareness about the disease.
Epilepsy is a neurological condition in the brain that triggers seizures. As stated by the Epilepsy Foundation, “doctors believe that seizures happen when a brain’s uncontrolled increase of excess electrical activity obstructs its normal functions.” This means that a seizure causes a short interruption to messages traveling back and forth within the brain. There are two types of seizures. The first type of seizures are generalized seizures which affect both sides of the brain. The other type of seizures are focal seizures which are in just one area of the brain and are also called partial seizures. A few symptoms of seizures are temporary confusion, a staring spell, stiff muscles, uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs, loss of consciousness or awareness, psychological symptoms such as fear, and anxiety or Deja vu. Once a person has had two seizures, they are diagnosed with epilepsy.
Epilepsy has no identifiable cause in about half the people with the condition. In the other half, the condition may be traced to various factors, including genetic influence, head trauma, brain abnormalities, infections, prenatal injury, and developmental disorders such as autism. Even though there is no distinguishable cause of epilepsy, there are a few risk factors for someone to develop epilepsy. A few of the risk factors are age, family history, head injuries, stroke and other vascular diseases, dementia, brain infections, and seizures in childhood.
For more information about epilepsy, please visit the Epilepsy Foundation. Along with this, the CDC is a fantastic resource to learn more about the risk factors and types of seizures associated with epilepsy. Visit Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, you can visit John Hopkins Medicine, to learn about the treatment options for epilepsy.
If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns, or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).
– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32
Rep. Hunter represents Aransas County and part of Nueces County. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 512-463-0672.