Wear Purple for Epilepsy Awareness

National Epilepsy Awareness Month aims to improve seizure control, recognition, first aid awareness

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh

(RxWiki News) November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month, and this year's themes are #DareTo Go the Distance and #DareTo Be Seizure Smart.

The 2015 campaign — represented by the color purple — aims to help epilepsy patients know all of their treatment and therapy options and to spread awareness about the importance of seizure recognition and proper first aid techniques.

This month, the Epilepsy Foundation is encouraging epilepsy patients to #DareTo Go the Distance to find and receive the best possible care for their condition. According to the Foundation, more than 30 percent of patients with epilepsy live with little or no seizure control. About 50 percent live with side effects from medication.

The general public is also encouraged to #DareTo Be Seizure Smart so that they're ready to help when someone has a seizure. According to the Foundation, help can be as close as a smartphone. Downloading the free seizure first aid app from the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota can assist with recognizing different types of seizures, knowing what to do and timing how long a seizure lasts.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which the brain's nerve cell activity becomes disrupted, causing seizures.

A seizure is a short change in normal brain activity that can cause changes in awareness, behavior and body movement. There are more than 30 different types of seizures. Some are mild and go unnoticed. Others can cause a person to fall to the ground, shake, or be unable to move or speak.

About 1 in 26 people in the US will develop a seizure disorder at some point in their lives, according to the Mayo Clinic. And nearly 10 percent of people will have a single, unprovoked seizure. But a single seizure doesn't mean a person has epilepsy. At least two unprovoked seizures (separated by more than 24 hours) are required for an epilepsy diagnosis.

There is currently no cure for epilepsy. However, for 10 to 15 percent of patients, the surgical removal of the seizure focus (the part of brain where seizures start) can eliminate all seizure activity. And for more than half of patients, medication can help control seizures. Some children may outgrow their condition.

If you think someone is having a seizure, remain calm. Not all seizures are emergencies and most will end within a few minutes. Check for a medical identification bracelet or other emergency information, and follow its directions. Call for help if the seizure lasts longer than five minutes.

If the person has never had a seizure before, has trouble breathing or waking after the seizure, experiences a seizure in water, has another seizure soon after the first one, is hurt during the seizure, or has a health condition like diabetes or heart disease, call 911 immediately.

Review Date: 
November 17, 2015
Last Updated:
November 18, 2015