Epilepsy: Risk Factors and Complications

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological problem behind Alzheimer’s disease, migraines, and strokes. Epilepsy, also known as seizure disorder, is caused by unusual nerve cell activity in the brain bringing on seizures that can affect any number of physical and mental functions. Nearly 3 million people in America have some form of epilepsy, and approximately 200,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. It’s estimated that 1 adult in 10 will have some type of seizure in his lifetime.learning about epilepsy

There is often no known cause of epilepsy, but this condition impacts more people than multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease, and cerebral palsy combined. When a person suffering from epilepsy has a seizure, he may stare vacantly into space or have convulsions and a loss of consciousness. Typically, epilepsy is treated with medications that help reduce the severity and frequency of seizures in more than 50 percent of patients.

If you’re an adult with epilepsy, you may qualify for Social Security (SS) disability benefits. This condition is evaluated by the nature of the seizures, the frequency, and duration. Because epilepsy isn’t always disabling, you may want to enlist the help of a SS disability lawyer to help you with your claim.

What Are the Risk Factors for Epilepsy?

A risk factor is something that makes it more likely for a person to develop symptoms of a medical condition, disease, or an illness. Here are a few factors that increase a person’s risk of developing epilepsy:

  • A brain infection
  • Being a child
  • Being age 60 or older
  • Dementia
  • Childhood seizures not related to epilepsy
  • A family history of epilepsy
  • A previous head injury
  • Vascular diseases

Living With Complications If You Have Epilepsy

People with epilepsy live with seizures, but the effects of epilepsy often extend beyond these sensory disturbances. If you have epilepsy, you're at an increased risk for certain problems and complications, including:

  • Falling. Some seizures can affect a person’s motor skills. When a person experiences a seizure, it’s possible for him or her to lose control of muscle function and fall. This can result in a head injury and/or broken bones.
  • Drowning. It’s important that people with epilepsy never swim by themselves and take great care when bathing. Patients who suffer from epilepsy are 15-to-19 times more likely to drown than those who don’t have this medical condition. If someone with epilepsy experiences a seizure while in a pool, lake, or bathtub, he or she might be unable to move; might lose a sense of awareness about the situation; and possibly lose consciousness—and the probability of drowning is high.
  • Experiencing a car accident. People who have a history of seizures are often not allowed to drive and not issued a driver’s license until they have been free of seizures for a period of time defined by the state. A seizure can cause you to lose awareness, negatively impact your ability to control and maintain a vehicle, and could cause you to injure yourself or other motorists on the road.
  • Experiencing emotional difficulties. People who suffer from epilepsy may experience depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts and actions because the emotional stress of living with this medical condition is too difficult to handle.
  • Evaluating seizure medication during pregnancy. Women who suffer from epilepsy can get pregnant and have a healthy baby—however, there are extra precautions they need to take. It’s important they talk with their doctors about anti-seizure medications because some of them can cause birth defects. Careful evaluation of these types of medicines is paramount when planning a family.   

If you or a family member suffers from epilepsy and you want to learn more about SS benefits, the attorneys at Cuddigan Law can offer experienced, skilled assistance to help you get the financial support you need and deserve. Cuddigan Law handles SS disability claims for clients who need help with their applications or the appeals process if their claim was denied. We want to help, so contact us by phone at (402) 933-5405, or fill out our online form.

 

Timothy J. Cuddigan
Omaha Social Security and Veterans Disability Lawyer With Over 40 Years Experience