Shattering the Myth of Epilepsy
By Patricia Greco
Publication Date: 02/15/2009
More than 3 million Americans have epilepsy, and 200,000 cases are identified annually, yet the disorder remains the object of misconceptions. “Many people think that epilepsy means having grand mal seizures—the ones you see on ER, with convulsions,” says Dr. Carl W. Bazil, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at Columbia University Medical Center. “Those are the most obvious seizures, but they are not the most common.”
Having two or more seizures as a result of abnormal electrical activity in the brain generally warrants a diagnosis of epilepsy. But the kinds of seizures depend on the parts of the brain affected. Often, seizures appear subtle: hands twitch, lips smack, eyes flutter or stare blankly. “The average person whose seizures are not fully controlled will have them perhaps two or three times a month,” says Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of the New York University Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. “Then there are the less than 5% who have severe cases, some having hundreds of minor seizures a day.”this is where I fit in.
Many people assume the disorder is due to genetics or a brain injury (increasingly common among Iraq War veterans). But 70% of the time, the cause is a mystery. As many as seven in 10 people with epilepsy respond to medication. Other options—including surgery and special diets—may provide relief to those who aren’t helped by drugs.
I refuse to allow any surgery.The diet is not helping much.
I got this from Parade magazine.