26 October 2014

National Epilepsy Awareness Week: IMPACT OF EPILEPSY

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Epilepsy is present in around 1% of the global population. This may be higher in developing countries.

In a country such as the Philippines with a population of 93 million, this means that an estimated 930,000 people suffer from epilepsy.

Local prevalence study: 230 persons with epilepsy / 100,000 population.Epilepsy strikes most often among the very young and the very old, although anyone can get it at any age.

The mortality rate among people with epilepsy is two to three times higher than the general population and the risk of sudden death is 24 times greater.

People with epilepsy can die of seizures and related-causes, including status epilepticus (non-stop seizures), sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), drowning and other accidents.

Twenty to thirty percent of people with epilepsy are severely affected and continue to have seizures despite treatment.

Of major chronic medical conditions, epilepsy is among the least understood even though one in three adults know someone with the disorder.

Lack of knowledge about proper seizure first aid exposes affected individuals to injury from unnecessary restraint and from objects needlessly forced into the mouth.

The leading non-medical problem confronting people with epilepsy is discrimination in education, employment and social acceptance. The association between epilepsy and depression is especially strong. More than one of every three persons with epilepsy are also affected by the mood disorder, and people with a history of depression have a 3 to 7 times higher risk of developing epilepsy.

From studies abroad, depression is reported by 24-74% of patients with epilepsy; anxiety in 10-25%. Around 64% of people with epilepsy in the Philippines suffer from anxiety and 51% from depression.

Living with epilepsy presents challenges affecting many aspects of life, including relationships with family and friends, school, employment and leisure activities.

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