Learn About Epilepsy & Spread Awareness On Purple Day

Purple Day

What is Purple Day? It's a day of awareness on March 26th. According to PurpleDay.org, this Sunday is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide.

People in countries around the world are invited to wear purple and host events in support of epilepsy awareness.

About Epilepsy

  • 50 million people have epilepsy worldwide
  • 1 in 100 people worldwide have epilepsy
  • 50% of the cases have no known cause
  • In 2015, 125,000 deaths were attributed to epilepsy
  • Epilepsy is more common in older people
  • People that have a stroke have a 2-4% chance of developing epilepsy, although that number is higher in the United Kingdom
  • Onset of new cases occurs most frequently in babies and the elderly
  • About 5-10% of people will have an unprovoked seizure by the age of 80
  • The word ‘epilepsy’ comes from the Greek, meaning, “to seize, possess or afflict”
  • 60% of all seizures are convulsive, with one-third beginning as generalized seizures, affecting both hemispheres of the brain. 2/3 begin as focal seizures, meaning they affect only one hemisphere of the brain, but frequently progressing to generalized seizures.
  • 40% of seizures are non-convulsive, such as the absence seizure which usually lasts about 10 seconds.
  • Chronic alcohol use can increase the risk of epilepsy
  • Epilepsy is defined to be a disease, rather than a disorder. In some cases, epilepsy can be outgrown or resolved through treatment. But, there is no guarantee that it will not return. 

Factors that can bring on seizures

  • Stress
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Flickering light
  • Lack of sleep

What to do when someone has a seizure

  • If possible, roll them onto their side
  • Do not put fingers, a bite block or tongue depressor in the mouth
  • Try to move anything that could cause self-injury
  • If a seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes, or if there are more than 2 seizures in an hour without a return to normal consciousness, medical assistance may be needed

The Epilepsy Foundation recommends the following to reduce seizure incidents:

  • Take medication as prescribed
  • Get enough sleep
  • Limit alcohol
  • Strive to stop seizures

The Epilepsy Foundation has a toll-free helpline to provide information and answer questions: 1-800-332-1000

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