malady of millions

About one in one hundred Americans has epilepsy—three million of us. Each of these individuals likely has parents, siblings, offspring, a companion—or all of the above—who are intimately impacted by the disorder. It also means that each of us—whether we are aware of it or not—probably knows a handful of people who suffer epilepsy’s hardship, either directly or indirectly. That’s tens of millions of Americans who are touched by this misunderstood, marginalized, grossly underfunded malady.

Epilepsy afflicts more people than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and Parkinson’s disease combined. Each year more people die from from status epilepticus (prolonged seizures), Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), and other seizure-related causes such as drowning, than breast cancer—many of them children—yet epilepsy remains an obscure disorder.

If you or someone you know doesn’t have epilepsy, there’s no guarantee of immunity. Epilepsy can strike anyone at any time, without warning. Seizures can attack fetuses, infants, toddlers, tykes, teens, young adults, adults and seniors. Often the cause is unknown, but it can be the result of genetics, lack of oxygen, head injury or stroke and can coexist with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s amongst others.

If you or someone you know does have epilepsy, there is nearly a 40% chance that the seizures are not controlled by medication. And if they are controlled with medication there are egregious side affects to cope with on a daily basis such as dizziness, headache, gait disturbances, cognitive slowing, lack of coordination, nausea, loss of appetite, blurred vision, double vision, lethargy, drowsiness, suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, aggression, kidney failure, liver failure, lethal skin rash and—paradoxically—increased seizures, to name only a few.

Please, please share Calvin’s Story with others. Help bring us one step closer to a cure for epilepsy by championing awareness. It’s not hard. Just do it one story at a time.

1 comment:

  1. I have a friend that suffered epilepsy seizures as a teenager and through medication and diet, he has been seizure free for many years. Who knows if he would be afflicted again as he gets older.