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60 Second Factfile: Epilepsy


Repeated seizures. These can be mild or very severe.

Living with Epilepsy

Epilepsy sufferers are prone to random seizures throughout their daily life. These can be partial seizures, in which the person is still conscious, or generalised, which affects most or all of the brain. Some are mild and mainly cause strange sensations or "absence seizures", while others such as tonic-clonic seizures - which affect 60 per cent of people with epilepsy - can cause unconsciousness, twitching and jerking of the muscles.


Epilepsy cannot be cured, but it can be managed via a variety of means. For some, treatment may not be necessary at all; however for those that do need help and support, anti-epilepsy drugs are available, and are taken by about 70 per cent of people with the condition. Knowing the environmental factors which trigger seizures - such as caffeine or lack of sleep - can also help manage epilepsy day to day.


You should never try to restrain somebody if they are having a tonic-clonic seizure. Doing so puts you and the other person at risk. Equally, you should never put something in their mouth - just gently roll them over, put something soft under their head, and wait for the seizure to pass.


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