This year's National Epilepsy Week runs from 15-21 May 2011 and
the theme for the week is 'information'.
In support of the national campaign nurses from the epilepsy
service at University Hospital of North Durham will be setting up
an information stall in Durham Market Place to help raise awareness
and provide information on the condition.
Pam Mantri and Lesley McCoy, Epilepsy Specialist Nurses, will be
on hand with information and advice in the market place on the 19th
and 20th May. They will be joined by members of the Durham Epilepsy
Support Group, who will be able to offer first hand advice and
experience on living with the condition.
Epilepsy is the tendency to have repeated seizures that start in
the brain. It is usually diagnosed after a person had had more than
one seizure. There are around 456,000 people in the UK who have
epilepsy. Around 75 people are diagnosed with epilepsy every
day and 1 in 50 people will have epilepsy at some time in their
Pam Mantri, Epilepsy Specialist Nurse said: "There is still a
lot of stigma associated with epilepsy and it is therefore
important that we support national campaigns such as this locally
to help raise awareness of the condition and how it can be managed.
As health professionals we can provide a lot of advice and
information about what we know but having the members of the
support group there with us means people can also hear what it
feels like which can be very beneficial.
"There continues to be a lot misdiagnosis of epilepsy so we'll
be talking to people about the symptoms associated with epilepsy,
what do if someone sees a seizure but also about how the
condition can be managed.
We work with patients to find a balance which works for them
with their medication. The statistics say that 70-80% of people
with epilepsy should be controlled by medication but we know it is
realistically more like 52% so there is still more work to be
"It is also about being able to support patients with any
problems they may face in continuing to work and general social
support as this can be an isolating condition."
The main symptoms of epilepsy are repeated seizures. There are
about 40 different types of seizure, and how they affect you
depends on which areas of the brain are affected. There are partial
seizures, where only a small part of the brain is affected and
symptoms can include a tingling sensation, or 'pins and needles',
in the arms and legs, a sudden intense emotion, such as fear or joy
or the muscles in the arms, legs and face may become stiff and
generalised seizures, where most or all of the brain is affected
and where In most cases, a person will be completely
There are many different reasons (causes) why someone might
develop epilepsy. Sometimes a cause for epilepsy can be found (for
example if someone has had a head injury) but sometimes the
person's epilepsy starts 'out of the blue' and the cause cannot be
Pam and Lesley will be available in the market place between 9am
- 3.30pm on the 19th May and 9.30am - 4.30pm on the 20th May.
Published: 11 May 2011
'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient
ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough
- could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'
Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community