10 things you should know about Epilepsy 2-2

6. For many people with epilepsy, seizures can be effectively reduced or eliminated by medication, surgery, devices and dietary or other therapies; however, referral to epilepsy centers for surgery can take 15 years or more.  In the Latino population, there is a considerable misinformation and lack of information; oftentimes that lack of access does not translate into meaningful care. There are 26 different drugs approved for treatment in the U.S. for epilepsy.  Moreover there is a pacemaker like device known as the vagus nerve stimulator, a diet- ketogenic or modified Atkins, and numerous surgeries.  These effective treatments are available for many types of epilepsies; however, access and referrals to these treatments fall short.
7. There is considerable stigma associated with epilepsy that sometimes overwhelms the condition itself. The word” epilepsy” is considered stigmatizing in its own right.  The long history of epilepsy is full of examples of discrimination and secrecy due to misinformation and lack of understanding by the general public.  This stigma can have a detrimental effect on people with epilepsy and continued and sustained efforts are needed to raise public awareness and convey what epilepsy is and what it is not, as well as the basic message that this is an exceedingly common condition.
8. There are significant quality of life issues associated with epilepsy and one of the most significant is driving.  Every state in the U.S. has a law that dictates whether someone with epilepsy can or cannot drive and the length of time they need to be seizure free for them to drive.  In six of these states, the law has mandatory reporting by the physician of all patients with epilepsy to a medical board.  Individuals need to be aware of these laws as there are, in some cases, criminal consequences for both physician and patients for their lack of awareness associated with it.
9. Epilepsy is more than just seizures as it often has other accompanying conditions associated with it.  Oftentimes, poor memory, mood issues, depression and anxiety walk hand in hand with issues associated with epilepsy and need to be managed and thought of when caring for the individual with epilepsy.
10. Sadly, many health professionals need to be better informed about epilepsy.  Only 20 percent of U.S. medical schools require training in neurology…and epilepsy and how to treat it.  Improvements in epilepsy care can only be made if the quality and quantity of education about epilepsy for health care professionals are improved dramatically at undergraduate and graduate levels of lifelong learning processes.  In addition, more educational efforts for patients with epilepsy and their families is needed.
It is only with a concerted effort to illuminate epilepsy and talk about the condition that one will hopefully empower individuals with knowledge so as to improve quality of life.
10 things you should know about Epilepsy  doctor servin nbc final parenting family NBC Latino News
Dr. Joseph Sirven is a first-generation Cuban-American. He is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurology and was past Director of Education for Mayo Clinic Arizona. He is editor-in-chief of epilepsy.com and has served U.S. and global governmental agencies including the Institute of Medicine, NASA, FAA, NIH and CDC.

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