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Seizures and Risk

There are over 40 different type of seizures, and they affect people in different ways

Clinicians group different types of seizures together (into groups called classifications), to help them identify seizures and the best methods for treating them. Find out more about these classifications here:

PDF iconILAE - Seizure Classifications

Being seizure aware may help you control them. Although seizures are spontaneous and unpredictable, there may often be triggers that you come to recognise eg: stress, changes in routine or forgetting to take epilepsy medication (also known as antiepileptic drugs or AEDs).  

Seizures can lead to injuries or falls; but they can also be much more serious; in some cases contributing to, or causing death. Different types of seizures carry different risks, which are mentioned below.

Talking with your clinician, taking action to reduce seizures, and knowing how to minimise the risks linked to having seizures are positive steps you can take to stay safer.

Take a look at our sections below to find out what you need to know about seizures and staying safe:

 

I’m Seizure free – what do I need to know?

If you’re currently seizure free your risks may be lower, but if you are still prescribed epilepsy medication it is really important you continue to take it until your clinician suggests any changes. You should also still have regular reviews, to check:

  • there are no changes to your epilepsy,
  • that your medication is still right for you
  • whether you still need to be on epilepsy medication

If you are seizure free but you notice any changes to your health, speak with your clinician in case it is related to your epilepsy or your medication.

 

I’m not seizure free – what do I need to know?

Anyone having seizures, whether one a year or many a day, is considered to have ‘active seizures’. They should be having regular reviews with the clinician who looks after their epilepsy. Their clinician may be a GP, Neurologist, Epilepsy Specialist Nurse, Learning Disability Nurse or Psychiatrist for example.

If you have epilepsy and are unsure what type of epilepsy or seizures you have, ask your clinician to explain them at your next appointment. They can also give your specific information on how to minimise your risks from your specific type of seizure.

Clinical guidelines (information for clinicians about how to diagnoses, treat and manage health conditions) such as the NICE Guidelines (UK) recommend that people with epilepsy have regular reviews of their epilepsy yearly, and that they are given information about risk.

This is not a law – but you should request a review if it isn’t offered to you. See here for available guidelines.

During your review, your clinician will need to know all about your seizures.  
To help with this you may want to: 

  • Ask people who observe your seizures to desribe them
  • Keep a record or diary of your seizures and the circumstances surrounding them
  • Invite someone who has seen your seizures to a medical appointment
Whether you have active seizures – or are seizure free (but still prescribed medication), it is important that you take your medication regularly, reliably & as prescribed, even if you are worried about doing so

Not taking your medication, even for a short time can cause more seizures & increase your risk of injury, or in some cases can cause people with epilepsy to die

If you are having side-effects, or are worried about this, speak with your clinician for advice on the best treatment for you.

Having active seizures puts you at risk, and there are certain types of seizure which research has shown increase a person’s risk level further. Read more here