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November is Epilepsy Awareness Month- SUDEP and Survival

Being human and alive subjects you to a number of things. You have bad days, good times and you’re susceptible to so many types of illnesses and conditions. Truth is, as long as you have a brain, you’re at risk of experiencing a seizure at least once in your life. But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you’re epileptic or have a seizure disorder, it just means that at the moment in time, the right things happened to make your brain go “spark-spark”.

Epilepsy is not a new condition. It has been around dating as far back as 2000 BC.

We’ve been outchea.

If you’re reading and you have no clue what epilepsy is, here’s a dictionary definition:

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness or convulsion, associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

Or how I like to describe it as “it’s mini electrical storms in the brain that can disturb regular bodily functions.”

There are several complications that comes with being an epileptic. You’re subjected to pain, seizures and sometimes the big ‘D’ word; Death.

November is Epilepsy Awareness month and there are several things that you should know about the condition.

SUDEP is the acronym for Sudden Death in Epilepsy. Usually this happens during nocturnal seizures; when someone seizes in their sleep. Statistics show that only 1 in a 1000 Epileptic persons experience SUDEP.

Rare right?

But do you know persons who experience frequent seizures, particularly convulsive seizures are said to be at risk?

Those types of seizures are called Tonic Clonic Seizures or as some may know, the Grand Mal seizures.

Talking about SUDEP is a difficult conversation because it cannot be predicted or flagged. Most doctors steer clear of disseminating this information and tend to reassure their patients that everything is okay. While everything is, it’s important to be aware and conscious of all the complications that can arise while overcoming this condition.

I am still coming to terms with my diagnosis. It’s been six long years living with Epilepsy and it still feels new. I chose to say “living” instead of battling because it’s not a fight, it is finding new ways everyday to manage a thing and hold myself accountable for the days that I fail and the days that I do not, then I find a way to be grateful that we’ve survived this long without seizing.

Facts about SUDEP:

  • SUDEP occurs due to a problem with the person’s heart or breathing during or following the seizure.

  • SUDEP often happens when the person is asleep.

  • SUDEP is more likely to affect people with frequent seizures, particularly convulsive seizures, than in people with infrequent seizures.

Doh frighten up, there are ways to reduce the chances like:

  • Keeping a log of your seizures’ frequency and duration

  • Taking your AEDs (Anti-epileptic Drugs) on time and as prescribed

  • Regular check ups with your neurologist

If you know someone living with Epilepsy, be sure to check in. The condition can take a toll on you and it’s comforting to have support and love from those around you.

Free at 5pm? Join me and Dionne Baptiste- Clarke for Straight Talk, a candid conversation about Epilepsy over on Loop News Caribbean. You can also check out my article published here.

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