November 15, 2009

November is Epilepsy Awareness Month

November is epilepsy awareness month, a fact of which I was completely unaware until one of Bertrand's symptoms turned out to be multifocal epilepsy. (An oddly appropriate month to start the ketogenic diet, don't you think?) November's challenge is to "Talk About It!" According to the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy is often suffered in silence. I didn't know what that meant until we started writing about Bertrand's epilepsy and dozens of supportive people came out of the woodwork to talk about how they or a loved one also has epilepsy. So, while next year I'll be wearing purple and fundraising, for this year, I'll "Talk About It!" Here are some epilepsy tidbits I was shocked to learn:
  • Epilepsy is defined as repeated seizures, which happen at any point in a person’s lifetime due to an inherited condition, an illness or a brain injury of any kind--it is not contagious.
  • Each year, some 50,000 Americans die from seizures and related causes, triggering more deaths annually than breast cancer.
  • Three million Americans suffer from epilepsy--it is the third most common neurological disorder in the US after Alzheimer's (dementia) and stroke.
  • While approaching an incidence of 2 percent of the population in general, the incidence of epilepsy in infants and kids is somewhere between 5 to 7 percent.
  • More people have epilepsy than cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease combined.
  • Epilepsy gets much less funding than stroke or dementia, and even less funding than Parkinson’s disease, which affects less than a quarter of the number of people who are affected with epilepsy.
  • The high rate of head injuries in soldiers who have served in Iraq portends a wave of epilepsy equal to or worse than the one which occurred as a result of the Vietnam war.

1 comment :

  1. I'm so glad you are talking about epilepsy. I had a student with epilepsy when I taught high school, and I remember some fellow faculty members having trouble understanding that it was serious enough for her to miss large amounts of school when she seemed so "healthy" most of the time.

    I hope the ketogenic diet works for Bertrand!