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Epilepsy is a chronic condition of the brain. It is characterised by seizures that do not seem to have an obvious cause.[1][2] The condition is very common; about 50 million people have epilepsy worldwide.[3] People with epilepsy are sometimes called epileptic, but it is the fit or seizure that is "epileptic". Many people have died from seizures. There are many different forms of seizures, and there are also many different forms of epilepsy. Most forms of epilepsy cannot be cured. In most cases, drugs can make life easier for those suffering from it. In very few cases, (which are difficult treat), surgery may help. In some cases, only eating special things (called a diet) may help. A special diet has been developed; it is called Ketogenic diet. When it was developed, it was mainly used to treat certain children with epilepsy, before good drugs became available. Today, it is used to treat certain cases where drugs do not seem to help.

Certain forms of the disease can disappear after a time, they do e.g. only occur in childhood. Epilepsy is not one condition. Rather, it stands for a number of health problems that all show in the same ways.

Common things[change | edit source]

The condition has many forms, but generally the following is true:

  • People may get muscular seizures or convulsions.
  • People lose control over their body. Feces may be released in the process. They may fall to the floor and hurt themselves when they are standing or walking.
  • People may become unconscious.
  • Those affected usually are not aware of the seizure going on. People may not remember or know what happened to them.
  • In some cases, people may sense that a seizure is about to occur. This special feeling is called aura. Afterwards, people may remember the aura, but not the seizure itself.
  • People are tired after a seizure. They may be confused.
  • People who suffer from epilepsy are not mentally ill.
  • The condition is very common, and has been studied a lot. There are drugs for many forms of epilepsy that make life better for those affected. Doctors only say someone has epilepsy, if that person has had at least two seizures, for which the immediate cause cannot be seen. There are also seizures which are not caused by epilepsy.

In most cases, epilepsy is caused by scars in the brain. Some forms of the condition are caused by genetic disorders, which may be passed on from the parents to the children. Very often, the actual cause for an epileptic seizure is lack of sleep, too much alcohol, or other things that cause stress.

Many countries in the world say there are special rules for people who have epilepsy. They need to be without a seizure for some time before they may drive a car. They also need to take drugs to treat their illness. In many countries, such people may not drive buses, taxis or trucks.

Famous people with epilepsy[change | edit source]

Notes[change | edit source]