With regular medication and a sensible lifestyle most people with epilepsy lead full and active lives. In fact, over 70% of patients become seizure-free with treatment.
Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain which affects 1% of Australians and can occur at any age. It causes seizures (convulsions or fits) which can vary from violent jerking movements with loss of consciousness to minor staring spells or periods of confusion. Epilepsy is not a mental illness. Between seizures, people with epilepsy are no different to anyone else.
How to reduce your seizure risk
Taking responsibility for your condition is the key to good seizure control.
1. Take your medication as prescribed and never stop without talking to your doctor. Side effects often settle with time.
2. Do not change brands of your regular epilepsy medication unless advised to by your doctor. Brand changing may lead to breakthrough seizures.
3. Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep is an important trigger for seizures.
4. Identify stress and try to reduce it.
5. Be aware of your personal triggers e.g. coffee, low blood sugar, flashing lights, recreational drugs, and try to avoid them.
6. Consider safety first. Never swim alone. Avoid dangerous sports e.g. rock climbing, scuba diving. Take care with heavy machinery, climbing ladders etc.
7. Do not drive until advised by your doctor.
8. Alcohol can make you more likely to have a seizure and can affect your medication. Ask your doctor for advice.
9. Consider wearing a medical ID bracelet if your seizures are not fully controlled.
10. Learn lots about epilepsy. It helps you to reduce your fears and take control.
For further advice speak to your GP or ring Epilepsy Association Australia on 1300 36 61 62. Visit http://www.epilepsy.org.au/.
Please note this information was correct at time of printing.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.