According to the Epilepsy Foundation, 3.4 million people in the United States live with epilepsy. 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime. And 1 in 3 people with epilepsy live with uncontrollable seizures because there is no available treatment that works for them.
With so many people impacted by this condition, what exactly is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the nervous system. It is also known as a seizure disorder. Seizures are sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Not all seizures are caused by epilepsy; what distinguishes epileptic seizures is that they originate in the brain.
There are several different types of epilepsy. The causes of different epilepsies can be complex and sometimes hard to identify, but may include a genetic tendency, a structural change in the brain, or a combination of both.
There are also over forty different kinds of epileptic seizures. Most seizures are short, and many people won’t notice a blank stare or momentary confusion. But other seizures can cause convulsions and result in falls. Some people with epilepsy have multiple types of seizures, or other medical conditions in addition to epilepsy. These factors play a major role in determining both the severity of the person’s condition and the impact it has on his or her life.
Like our member, Bruno. Diagnosed at the age of 10, he’s been battling his condition for over 30 years. And as you can imagine, living with a chronic medical condition at such an early age, he has overcome many obstacles throughout his life. From managing epilepsy as a child, teenager and young adult, Bruno has faced adversity with strength and integrity.
Living with epilepsy hasn’t stopped Bruno from living a full life, largely in part to his supportive wife, family and most recently, the protection of MedicAlert. As a MedicAlert member since 2018, Bruno relies on our 24/7 emergency response and contact notification services if he’s ever faced with an emergency.
“I wear a MedicAlert ID bracelet every day to make the people around me aware of my epilepsy condition. When a seizure occurs, they understand what to expect and who to call in times of need,” he says.
To increase awareness about epilepsy and other seizure disorders, Bruno and his wife Michelle have started a nonprofit – A Hero for Epileptics. Their mission is to raise awareness about epilepsy, and work to increase funding for research to find a cure. Their focus is on giving teens and young adults with epilepsy the courage to live better every day.
When they’re not educating the masses or raising funds to support epilepsy research, the duo host a thriving podcast that supports the epileptic community. The topics include managing everyday life while living with epilepsy, health and wellness, seizure triggers, and so much more.
MedicAlert Foundation recently had the pleasure of being guests on their podcast, and we learned more about Bruno, his life with epilepsy, his recent brain surgery and why MedicAlert matters to him. You can listen to our conversation here. We know, like us, you’ll be inspired by Bruno and his “can-do” approach to life.