Introduction to epilepsy

It's National Epilepsy Week - here's some background info on the condition

This week is National Epilepsy Week. Around 1 in 100 people in the UK suffer from the condition, which causes sufferers to experience epileptic seizures.

Seizures, also commonly known as fits, are caused when the messages in the brain become disrupted. Sufferers may or not be aware of their surroundings when they are experiencing a seizure, which can be quite a scary thought.

There are many different types of seizures with a variety of symptoms, such as becoming stiff, jerking or falling to the floor. We still don’t know exactly what can cause epilepsy, but there are theories that it is genetic and inherited from parents. However, many people develop epilepsy later in life as a result of brain damage or trauma.

It is a very complex condition, meaning it is almost impossible to be certain why or when someone will have a seizure. However, certain aspects of our environment may be a trigger – such as flashing lights. 

What should I do if someone is suffering from a seizure?

It is important to make sure the sufferer is protected from injury, so take care to move any harmful objects from nearby and cushion their head. Place them in the recovery position to allow them to breathe easier. If they are conscious, try to reassure them in a calm manner. 

Epilepsy sufferers may also carry an identity card on them, which can give advice on how to treat them. If the victim is suffering from their first seizure, or is feeling the effects for more than five minutes, call an ambulance. (Advice from Epilespy Action)