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    Epilepsy Advocacy Letter -- Part #2
    phylisfeinerjohnson posted:

    (Second Sheet:)

    Epilepsy Myths Live On?
    Just when you thought today's world had become enlightened, there are still a lot of myths and fears about epilepsy — fueled by lack of knowledge and misinformation.

    Here are a few examples:

    Myth: Epilepsy is contagious. Fact: Epilepsy can't be caught from contact with a person who has epilepsy.

    Myth: People with epilepsy can't be employed. Fact: Many people with epilepsy are successful in all types of professions.

    Myth: People with epilepsy are physically limited in what they can do. Fact: In most cases epilepsy is not a barrier to physical achievement. In some circumstances, when seizures are not being well controlled, persons with epilepsy may be advised to refrain from certain activities such as driving an automobile, working at heights or working with certain machinery.

    Myth: Only kids get epilepsy. Fact: Although epilepsy is more common in children and teens under age 15, epilepsy happens quite often to older adults. Currently, more than 570,000 adults age 65 and above in the U.S. have the condition.

    Myth: Epilepsy is rare and there aren't many people who have it. Fact: Epilepsy in America is as common as breast cancer. There are more than twice as many people with epilepsy in the US as the number of people with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and cystic fibrosis combined. Epilepsy can occur as a single condition, or may accompany other conditions affecting the brain, such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, autism, Alzheimer's, and traumatic brain injury.

    Myth: You should force something into the mouth of someone having a seizure so that they don't swallow their tongue. Fact: Never jam something into their mouth. It's impossible to swallow your tongue and YOU could get the bite of your life!

    Myth: Epilepsy is no longer a problem since there are medications to treat it. Fact: Over 30% of people have intractable intractable epilepsy which cannot be successfully treated with medication.

    Myth: You can't die from epilepsy. Fact: Epilepsy can become a life-threatening medical condition when seizures cannot be stopped. This year an estimated 25,000 to 50,000 will die of seizures and related causes. Patients with epilepsy have a mortality rate two to three times more than that of the general population, and their risk of sudden death is 24 times greater.

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    For more information, visit the Duke Health Epilepsy Center