EPILEPSY – It can occur in anyone and at any age. This disorder alters the lives of the sufferer. We must find a new balance.
Epileptic seizures can affect anyone. It can happen to anyone and at any age. Epilepsy occur in various ways depending on the part of the brain affected by epilepsy. If the whole brain is affected, it can lead to unconsciousness with convulsions. Seizures can also take the form of visual and audible hallucinations or through “out-of touch with reality” without loss of muscle tone, to name a few. “Epilepsy is – sometimes – linked to lesion in the brain. These lesions can be caused, for example, by a tumor, stroke, infectious disease, head trauma or a lack of oxygen at birth “ , says Agnes Stargazer, coordinator for Western Switzerland Epi-Issue, Swiss association of epilepsy, which provides support to those affected. Corinne, 48, began suffering epilepsy there are now seven. “I woke up Saturday morning feeling hurt. My husband saw that something was not going well. He took me quickly to emergencies. The diagnosis came. I was suffering from a brain tumor. Then I needed surgery. A few months later, I started having seizures. I thought something fell into place in my brain. As I had an appointment with my neurosurgeon, I told him. She immediately thought of epilepsy “ , says Corinne. It must undergo a battery of tests with a neurologist. The verdict was confirmed. Home, crises are manifested in language disorders and visual hallucinations. “I can not talk and I do not understand what I’m told. I see events looping in my head. The images change every three seconds. It’s scary. I feared that my brain is frozen like that “ , she says. It will take about five years to Corinne and her neurologist to find suitable treatment. “I have tested a range of medications. Some worsening crises. Other improved the situation. Today, I still have a crisis about a month “ , she explains. To alleviate the disorder, the doctor must find the dosage suitable for the person. Note, however, that here developed epilepsy after a tumor is a special case. In most cases, a solution to the disease is easier to find.
The burden of disease
Epilepsy changes the life of the person himself. Seizures can cause anxiety for the person, but also for those around him, especially as they are often unpredictable. They can also be impressive. The person with epilepsy can suffer from memory loss and have difficulty concentrating. In the case of Corinne, it is also quite tired. “I had to change my way of living. I will idle and I make three times as much as before. I can not drive now and my movements are more easily limited. Because of the fatigue, I can not work as much. It is difficult, especially as I have my own business. I have to have a fairly strict lifestyle with regular sleep schedules. If I want to go out with friends, I have to rest and conditioning before me or I’m too tired. Epilepsy also prevents me realize some dreams. I can hardly travel, for example. I adapted gradually. I am learning to live in the moment. We must find a new balance. It’s not easy, “ says Corinne.Epilepsy is also little known in society. We imagine that it’s related to a psychological problem.However, this has no connection. Consequently, the person often is afraid of what other people and it’s difficult to talk about oneself. Corinne has also chosen to testify to publicize epilepsy and to know the persons concerned that they are not alone.
A fairly common disorder
Little light on epilepsy with Dr. Pierre Arnold, a neurologist.
Is it predispositions that make this or that person may be affected?
Some traits are that there is a predisposition to develop these crises. However, it is not a hereditary disease. Epilepsy can also be secondary to lesions such as stroke, head trauma or so in connection with a degenerative brain disease such as Alzheimer’s disease.Epilepsy is a relatively common disease that affects between 0.5 and 1% of the population.
Are there effective treatments?
Drug treatments are fairly effective. In 70-80% of cases, patients live a normal life without crisis, usually without side effects. In some situations, installing a simulator on the vagus nerve (10th cranial nerve) allows to treat epilepsy. In other cases, it is necessary to resort to surgery. For the remaining 20%, treatment failure is usually related to the complexity of the case.
What impact epilepsy on life?
With proper treatment, the person can live a normal life. It can lead, work, socialize, play sports. Sport is even recommended for the person with epilepsy. Some professions, such as professional drivers will be prohibited and will require a professional reorientation.