Epilepsy : 10 Things Patients & Family Members Should Know 2

5.Women with epilepsy face unique issues.
 Female hormones can affect seizure patterns.
 Women with epilepsy are at higher risk for certain reproductive problems.
 Some epilepsy drugs can…
o interfere with birth control pills
o increase the risk of birth defects
o weaken bones
 Women are more likely to have psychogenic seizures than men.
 Women with epilepsy can have healthy babies, but there are some risks.
Your neurologist should be aware of these issues and able to address them.
6. Memory problems are common in people with epilepsy.
In people with epilepsy, memory and thinking can be affected by…
 side effects of antiseizure drugs
 seizures
 changes in the structure of the brain
 changes in how the brain works
Seeing a neuropsychologist may help you learn more about your memory problems. It can also give you ideas on how to cope with them. Be sure to share your memory concerns with your doctors as well. Medicine changes or further testing may be needed.
7. Depression is a common, serious, and treatable problem in people with epilepsy.
It’s normal to feel sad once in a while. When this feeling doesn’t go away, though, it could be depression. Depression is a serious medical problem that requires treatment. About 3 out of 10 people with epilepsy have depression. Depression can…
 cause stress
 cause sleep problems
 make it harder to think, concentrate, or remember things
 make it harder for you to take your medicines
 make you have more seizures
 lead to risky behaviors
 lead to suicide
If you think you might have depression, tell your doctor. There are medicines for depression that can be safely taken by people with epilepsy. Talking with a therapist can also help.
8. People with epilepsy can succeed in school and the workplace.
If epilepsy is causing problems in school or at work, Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan can help. Here are some things we can do…
In School
 train school staff on how to recognize seizures and provide first aid
 train parents and teachers on how epilepsy can affect learning
 teach other students about epilepsy
 make sure the child gets needed services
 help the child build social skills
At Work
 teach you about your rights
 suggest job accommodations
 help you to address employer fears about epilepsy
 connect you with job training and placement programs
 help you explore ideas for new careers.
9. There are risks that go along with epilepsy, but you can lower these risks.
Epilepsy can cause injury, other health problems, or, in rare cases, death. Here are some things that can happen with epilepsy:
 Chronic health problems
o depression
o obesity
o bone loss
o reproductive disorders
 Injuries from seizures
o muscle, bone, and joint injuries
o burns
o cuts and bruises
o brain injury
 Car accidents
 Drowning
 Injury or death from seizures that won’t stop (status epilepticus)
 SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy)
Ask your doctor about these risks and how to lower them. Some basic safety precautions, healthy habits, and treatment changes can help. This can allow you to focus on your goals rather than your fears.
10. You are not alone.
One out of 26 Americans will have epilepsy at some point in their lives. You don’t have to deal with this condition on your own. Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan offers programs where you can…
 learn from experts about epilepsy and other topics
 get one-on-one help with managing epilepsy
 meet others with epilepsy who have ideas and experiences to share

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