RISE ABOVE 
EPILEPSY

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ABOUT EPILEPSY

Around 65 million people around the world have epilepsy. Epilepsy is a disorder in the brain and is also known as seizure disorder.Epilepsy is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures or more; that were not caused by a known medical condition. Seizures are sudden disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain. Seizures may be due to brain injury but most of the time the cause is unknown. There are many types of seizures, manifested differently. Epilepsy is managed by consistent use of Anti-Epileptic Drugs as prescribed by a doctor. Anyone can get epilepsy regardless of their age,race or social class. One can live and accomplish much, despite having epilepsy.

What is Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a disorder in the brain and is also known as seizure disorder.Epilepsy is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures or more; that were not caused by a known medical condition.

What is a seizure

Seizures are sudden disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain. Seizures may be due to brain injury but most of the time the cause is unknown. There are many types of seizures, manifested differently.

Facts about Epilepsy

• Epilepsy is not contagious
• One can’t swallow their tongue during a seizure
• Anyone can develop epilepsy,regardless of age,gender,race,social status
• Most people with epilepsy can do the same things that people without epilepsy can do. Some people with frequent seizures,they may not be able to drive or
• Every person behaves differently during a seizure
• A person with epilepsy is not physically limited in what they can do

Types of Seizures

People living with epilepsy have different types of seizures.
Seizures can take on many different forms, and seizures affect different people in different ways. Some people may seem to just stare while another person may fall and jerk. The difference between types of seizures is in how and where they begin in the brain.

1. Focal Onset seizures. This is a seizure that begins on one side of the brain. A person is aware of their surroundings, is alert and can recall events during the seizure. Some may “freeze” during the seizure and hence may not respond to others during the seizure. It can last less than 2minutes.
2. Focal onset impaired awareness seizure. This is a seizure that begins on one side of the brain and the person has a change in their level of awareness. The person can forget what happened before or after the seizure. During the seizure, the person may have involuntary movements (automasims),fumbling, picking at clothes,moving the mouth et.One may look tired or confused for a while after the seizure
3. Focal to Bilateral tonic-clonic seizure. These are seizures that start on a limited area on one side of the brain then spread to involve both sides. They start suddenly and the movements can be strong or forceful.
4. Tonic-Clonic seizure: This is what most people relate to when they hear the word seizure.It is also called convulsion. Tonic(stiffening) phase comes first;whereby all muscles stiffen,the person may cry aloud, losses consciousness and falls to the floor. The clonic(rhythmical jerking) phase follows; arms and legs jerk rapidly and rhythmically then after a few minutes it slows and stops
5. Absence seizure: This causes staring into space or lapses in awareness.This is a generalized onset seizure, meaning that it begins on both sides of te brain at the same time.It goes on for a brief moment and then the person recovers immediately. They are common in children and are also called petit mal seizures.
6. Atypical Absence Seizures: This is a type of absence seizure but it’s different;in that a person ay stare but maybe able to respond abit. You may also notice eye blinking, chewing movements, sacking of the lip,small hand movements. If a person has this seizure, they may stop talking in the middle of the sentence.This mostly affects school children. It may last 5 to 30seconds.
7. Atonic Seizure: “Atonic” means without tone. Muscles suddenly become limp.These seizures are called “drop attacks”.Part of te body may become limp eg eyelids may droop,the ead may drop forward or the person may drop things.One may get injured when they fall so it’s important to ensure head protection.If the seizure starts on one part of the brain and a loss of tone on one part of the body;it’s called focal motor atonic seizure. If it affects both sides of the brain, it’s called generalized onset atonic seizures.
8. Clonic seizure: “Clonus” (KLOH-nus) is fast stiffening and relaxing of a muscle that happens repeatedly. It is repeated jerking. Clonic seizure movements cannot be stopped by restraining or repositioning the arms or legs of the person. Just clonic seizures are rare; the movements are mostly seen during a tonic-clonic seizure. If the seizure starts in the motor area on one side of the brain; it’s called focal clonic seizures and the movements affect part of the body. If the seizures affects both sides of the brain at once, they are generalized clonic seizures and the movements affect the whole body.
9. Tonic Seizures: In a tonic seizure, there is increased muscle tone and the body, arms, or legs become suddenly stiff or tense. They are brief and one maybe either aware or have a slight change in awareness.If a person was standing during the seizure, they may fall down.If it starts on one part of the brain and causes stiffening of part of the body;these are focal tonic seizures.If it starts on both sides of the brain,the wole body may become stiff from the beginning and this is a generalized tonic seizure.
10. Myoclonic seizure: Myoclonic seizures are brief,shock-like jerk movements of a muscle.”Myo” means muscle and “clonus” means rapidly alternating contraction and relaxation (jerking) of a muscle. They occur for a second or two.

WHAT ARE TRIGGERS FOR SEIZURES?

A trigger is something that occurs before seizures. It’s important to keep track of the factors(triggers) that lead to a seizure so that one can know when a seizure is about to happen and be better prepared to avoid getting hurt.

What are some of the common triggers?

Flash lights

Stress

Hunger or not eating well

Specific time of day or night

Overtired or not getting enough sleep

Fevers or other illnesses

Alcohol or Drug abuse

Some foods e.g caffeine

Some medication

Hormonal changes or menstrual cycle in women

FIRST AID

• Stay calm and talk calmly to the person during and after the seizure.Most seizures are brief.
• Prevent injury by moving sharp objects away or remove the person from danger eg.traffic
• Support the person’s head to prevent it from hitting the floor and place something soft and comfortable below their head.
• If the person is lying down, turn them on their side, with their mouth pointing to the ground. This prevents saliva from blocking their airway and helps the person breathe more easily.
• Time the seizure;if it takes too long call for help.
• Stay with the person until the seizure is over.
• DON’T put anything into their mouth during the seizure.
• DON’T restrain someone having a seizure or try to stop movements as this can result to more injuries
• DON’T give water, food or pills unless the person is fully alert. This is because they may not swallow properly.

TREATMENT

Epilepsy is managed by use of Anti-Epilepstic Drugs.These have to be prescribed by a doctor and taken as advised. It’s important to keep a diary so as to note down whenever a seizure occurs or any unusual occurences. This can be discussed with the doctor during hospital appointments.

Symptoms and Treatment of Epilepsy

This is the short version of the DOs and DON’Ts

Overcoming the Stigma of Epilepsy

Misinformation and epilepsy stereotypes often prevent people with this seizure disorder from getting needed care. Advice from people who have overcome epilepsy stigma can help.

Rise above 
Epilepsy

The foundation aims at improving the quality of lives for people with epilepsy through active support groups and raising awareness about epilepsy.

HATUA AFRIKA FOUNDATION
P.O.BOX 0000-00100
NAIROBI, KENYA
Email: info@hatuaafrika.org
Mobile:
+254 710 679066/
+254 704 714458

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