Walter H. Peters, MD
Palmetto Health-USC Neurology
Epilepsy is common, but how much do you know about it? Get facts about this condition from neurologist Walter H. Peters, MD, Palmetto Health-USC Neurology.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder of the central nervous system in which abnormal electrical discharges in the brain can cause seizures or periods of unusual behavior, including loss of awareness or consciousness. It is estimated that 65 million people worldwide live with the disorder. One-in-26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime and anyone can develop it, though children and the elderly are at the highest risk.
Certain types of epilepsy can progress and get worse over time, but there are also other types that get better as time goes on. Many epileptic patients are able to control their seizures with anti-seizure medication and lead full lives. Those who don’t respond to the medication may be candidates for surgery or vagus nerve stimulation, a procedure where we implant a device that stimulates the vagus nerve with electrical impulses.
Because epilepsy is common, that means seizures are common, and one day you might need to help someone.
If you’re with somebody who’s experiencing a seizure, here are a few tips:
- If the person is standing upright, they may hurt themselves by falling. Try to help the person to the ground and roll them on their side.
- Allow the seizure to take its course. Most seizures end after a minute or two.
- Do not put anything in the person’s mouth. It used to be advised to do this in an attempt to keep a person from biting their tongue, but that can be more harmful than helpful.
- If the seizure doesn’t stop after three to five minutes, call 9-1-1.
To learn more about epilepsy, check out Epilepsy Foundation
Palmetto Health offers several same-day care options for minor illnesses such as UTIs. To learn more, visit PalmettoHealth.org/SameDayCare.