Support a cause, whichever one you choose. Research shows that giving back is a source of health and most important, happiness!
In my case, I chose to support the Epilepsy Foundation. With 150,000 new cases diagnosed each year, epilepsy is the 4th most common neurological disorder after migraines, stroke and Alzheimer's disease. (1)
"My family supports our local Epilepsy Foundation in their efforts to raise the public awareness and in their coordination of ongoing medical research". For Susana Leon Krieger, epilepsy is a close cause ... as close as her relative with the condition. "There is still much more to be done! By supporting the Epilepsy Foundation, I am also making my family healthy."
According to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, epilepsy affects an estimated 2.2 million of people (2). Though common, understanding the challenges of living with epilepsy is limited. One tends not to think about it, but this neurological disorder is quite challenging; especially in common day, practical life: school, employment, limitations on living on one's own and doing simple things like driving and having a family are just some of the obstacles individuals with epilepsy face. It not only affects one's health, but our overall quality of life!
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science has made a series of recommendations focused on putting epilepsy on the map, and are centered on the fact that even though it is considered a common disorder, it is a very complex one. It seeks to promote understanding of the disorder to empower the patient and the family to seek treatment, provide perspectives and adapt to living with the condition. For anyone looking to understand and find answers on epilepsy, this report is an excellent way to start.
So what can you do if someone in your family is dealing with epilepsy?
Stay educated. Get in touch with your local branch of the Epilepsy Foundation. They have a plethora of resources for you to get familiarized with the condition; any where from understanding the different type of seizures, to learning what to do and how to react to one.
Be proactive. Although frustrating, the gap between referrals and specialized treatment will get shorter.
Spread the word. Make sure everyone around you understands the risk factors and limitations of living with epilepsy. Creating awareness is a necessary step for caring with someone with epilepsy.
Be secure. Make sure you are protected financially. There are many types of insurance that can ensure your financial well-being while dealing with the disorder. Look into a special needs trust that can ensure your dependent will continue with the quality of life you have been able to provide.
Look for support. Join a group that can encourage you through the difficult times and that can provide you with the opportunity of supporting others.
This information is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
(1) National Epilepsy Foundation: www.epilepsy.com/learn/epilepsy-statistics
(2) National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine: www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2012/Epilepsy-Across-the-Spectrum.aspx