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National Epilepsy Awareness Month

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Imagine having seizures that can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.  Sometimes you fall to the ground unconscious– staring into space, while your muscles stiffen and twitch.  Now imagine that this happens to you at random intervals, any time of the day on any given day, without warning.  This it what over 65 million people worldwide with epilepsy have to live with.

 

 

Here in the United States, epilepsy affects an estimated 2.2 million people, and 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime.   Anyone can develop the condition, but those very young and very old are at greatest risk, with more than 300,000 children under 15 and more than 570,000 adults over 65 living with the condition .  While epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the U.S., it remains one of the least understood and studied– even though most Americans know someone living with it.   Compared to other major neurologic disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, epilepsy research receives significantly less funding.  This is why we celebrate National Epilepsy Awareness Month.

 

Last year, 24 federal agencies and nonprofit organizations commissioned the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to create the first national public health strategy for addressing epilepsy through research and action.  On November 5, 2013, the Assistant Secretary for Health, Dr. Howard Koh, reported that this year a number of Health  Human Services agencies have already begun critical work to implement the report’s recommendations.  These recommendations include earlier identification and treatment, new measures to assess quality of care, and improved knowledge and skills for those who provide healthcare for epilipsy patients.   Dr. Kioh also explained how under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage to those with epilepsy and other pre-existing conditions.

 

Participate in National Epilepsy Awareness Month