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Home Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP)

Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP)

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What about Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP)?
SUDEP is a rare condition in which people with epilepsy die without a clear cause. It accounts for less than 2% of deaths among people with epilepsy. The risk is about 1 in 3,000 per year for all people with epilepsy. It can be as high as 1 in 300 for those who have frequent, uncontrollable seizures and take high doses of seizure medicines. SUDEP is extremely rare in children.

The person is often found dead in bed and doesn’t appear to have had a convulsive seizure. About a third of them do show evidence of a seizure close to the time of death. They are often found lying face down.

No one is sure about the cause of death in SUDEP. Some researchers think that a seizure causes an irregular heart rhythm. More recent studies have suggested that the person may suffocate from impaired breathing, fluid in the lungs, and being face down on the bedding.

Safety Precautions
The best known way to lessen the risk of SUDEP is to control seizures. Therefore
  • Take all seizure medicines regularly, as prescribed.
  • Avoid heavy alcohol use and recreational drugs.
  • Get regular sleep and avoid fatigue.
Epilepsy should not be a barrier to success

  • Epilepsy is perfectly compatible with a normal, happy, and full life. The person’s quality of life, however, may be affected by the frequency and severity of the seizures, the effects of medications, reactions of onlookers to seizures, and other disorders that are often associated with or caused by epilepsy.
  • Some types of epilepsy are harder to control than others. Living successfully with epilepsy requires a positive outlook, a supportive environment, and good medical care. Coping with the reaction of other people to the disorder can be the most difficult part of living with epilepsy.
  • Acquiring a positive outlook may be easier said than done, especially for those who have grown up with insecurity and fear. Instilling a strong sense of self–esteem in children is important. Many children with long–term, ongoingic illnesses—not only epilepsy but also disorders such as asthma or diabetes—have low self–esteem. This may be caused in part by the reactions of others and in part by parental concern that fosters dependence and insecurity. Children develop strong self–esteem and independence through praise for their accomplishments and emphasis on their potential abilities.
– Contributed by Epilepsy.com

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