Did you know that more people live with epilepsy than with autism spectrum disorders, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy combined?

Sadly, most are unaware of how prevalent epilepsy is.  I experienced this firsthand soon after Mickie was diagnosed.  Close friends would whisper to me that they had epilepsy.  They never shared this with others.  I was shocked.  How are we going to help those suffering from epilepsy if the awareness isn’t there?  There is a stigma associated with epilepsy causing no one to talk about it.  The CDC doesn’t even have accurate mortality rates for seizure related deaths.  The most commonly used fact is that more people died from seizure related accidents last year than breast cancer.  So why is no one talking about it?

In October, NFL players wear pink socks and the whole world is talking about the pandemic that is breast cancer.  Did you know that November is National epilepsy Awareness month? So, why is no one wearing purple?

In the last 5 years, the rate of Autism diagnoses has nearly doubled going from 1 in 93 children to 1 in 68.  In April, everything on Facebook turns blue for autism awareness.  I am not saying that we shouldn’t spread awareness about breast cancer and autism, but did you know, that 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime?  We need to start educating ourselves, our communities, our schools and our doctor and nurses about epilepsy.

I want to share with you 10 things you probably don’t know about epilepsy.

Did you know…

10) that what happens in a seizure may look different from person to person.  However, each person has stereotypic seizures.

9) that anyone can develop epilepsy.

8) that 65 million people in the world have epilepsy.  Of those, 3 million live in United Stated.

7) that one-third of people with epilepsy live with uncontrollable seizures because no available treatment works for them.

6) that 6 out of 10 people do not know the cause.

5) that epilepsy is the third most common neurological disorder behind Alzheimer’s and stroke.

4) that there are 500 new cases diagnosed each day.

3) that children and seniors have a higher risk of developing epilepsy.  Thirty percent of those diagnosed are children.

2) the Federal Government spends much less on epilepsy compared to diseases that effect fewer people.  The National Institute of Health (NIH) spends $30 billion on medical research.  Only ½ of 1% is spent on epilepsy research.

1) that you can die from epilepsy.  Up to 50,000 people die from epilepsy each year.  Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) accounts for 34% of all sudden deaths in children.

Let’s start the conversation!  If you only share one of my blogs, this is the one to share.  It is time to remove the stigma for this disease that is effecting so many.  Perhaps, if there are more people talking about it, more people will know the signs to look for and diagnoses can be given sooner.


Mrs. Griess

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