Thursday March 26th is known as purple day, a day dedicated in raising awareness around the world for epilepsy.
This all began in 2008 by nine-year-old Cassidy Megan from Nova Scotia, Canada was diagnosed at the age of 7. Dealing with her own struggles surrounding epilepsy and what this meant for her everyday life and immediate family members, she created purple day. This was done, in an effort to raise awareness and to get people talking about this disease, which impacts around 250,000 Australians. That is equal to one percent of the entire population.
Purple day is celebrated around the world in over 100 countries, and you can show your support by wearing purple on this day. Raising awareness and educating people on what to do if someone is having a seize could make all the difference to their lives. Purple is the international colour which represents epilepsy awareness, and the month of November is Epilepsy Awareness Month.
- Epilepsy is a disease of the brain that can affect people of all ages.
- A person with epilepsy can tend to have spontaneous recurrent seizures
- Around 65 million people around the work have epilepsy
- Approximately 3% – 3.5% of Australians will experience epilepsy at some point in their lives
- In Australia 12,000 people a year are diagnosed with epilepsy.
Diagnosis and Treatments
If you start experiencing seizures, it is very important that you seek medical attention, to find out what may be causing them. Your doctor will ask you questions, run blood tests, an EEG test and brain scans to try to piece together the pieces of the puzzle. If he believes the symptoms and patterns are pointing towards epilepsy, it is good to let them know if you have been dealing with pressure out of the norm you so get an overall picture. Your doctor may then refer you to a neurologist, who specialises in the brain.
What is a Seizure?
A seizure is an event, when there is a disruption of the normal electrochemical activity of the brain, epilepsy is a disease of the brain characterised by the tendency to have recurrent seizures. Seizures vary from person to person; they can be brief or last up to two to three minutes. And it is good to know that not all seizures are diagnosed are epilepsy.
Depending on where the seizure is in the brain, it can cause changes in other parts of the body and mind:
- Sensation and feeling
- Awareness and consciousness
- Or movement
Not everyone diagnosed with epilepsy will find out what has caused them to develop this disease. Only around half of all people diagnosed can identify their own triggers. Some causes of epilepsy may be:
- head injury such as in a car accident, trauma or serious fall
- stroke or brain haemorrhage
- lack of oxygen to the brain for a prolonged period (such as in birth trauma, cardiac arrest, drowning, drug overdose)
- brain infections (for example meningitis, encephalitis or brain abscess)
- brain abnormalities at birth
- brain tumours
- genetic factors
- degenerative conditions affecting the brain (such as dementia).
Getting Support in your Local Area
For local support in Newcastle you can join in with a social lunch which is held at Wallsend Diggers, 5 Tyrell Street Wallsend on Fri 8 Apr 2016, 12:00pm–2:00pm and Fri 3 Jun 2016, 12:00pm–2:00pm. Look out for the purple balloons, everyone is welcome and it gives people a great opportunity to have a chat with others in the community who are experiencing similar issues and problems as you or a friend or relative.
Join in Purple Day
How to get involved:
Schools and Fundraising
Schools can get involved and are highly encouraged to do so, by holding events such as Mufti day, bake sale, sports day, or any event which can request a gold coin donation will help raise much needed funds.
With fundraising, you can put your own creative flair into it and make your unique ideas come to life. If you would like to help and support this cause please fill out the registration form here, https://www.epilepsy.org.au/fundraising-registration-form/
There is a wide range of merchandise available to purchase, with a variety of merchandising boxes that have been put together, they offer various products which are available for purchase for a small donation going back to https://www.epilepsy.org.au/. So, whether you require something for your office, or high school, there is something to suit your requirements. Some of the items include Key rings, pens, phone grips, sunglasses, lapel pins and wrist bands.
If you would like to donate to help Epilepsy Action Australia directly, they accept any size donation. Your donation will be put towards supporting and helping affected families, and towards much needed research into better treatments and prevention. https://www.epilepsy.org.au/donation/make-a-donation/
- If you have had a seizure, it’s very important for you to see a doctor.
- If you think you may have had a seizure, go to your primary care doctor first.
- If your doctor thinks you’ve had a seizure, she will probably refer you to a neurologist.
- When you visit your doctor, he’ll ask lots of questions about your health and what happened before, during, and after the seizure.
- Several tests may be ordered which can help diagnose epilepsy and see if a cause can be found.
- If all your test results are normal, your doctor will have to figure out whether you still need treatment.
ConnectAbility Australia strive towards supporting individuals to live a normal and fulfilled life, we are here to provide additional support where it is needed the most. If you would like to find out how we can help, please call us on 02 4962 1000.