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Local nurses support National Epilepsy Week (15 -21 May)

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 life1.

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 done.

"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 unconscious

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 found.

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


'Every aspect of my emergency care was dealt with quickly, efficiently and professionally with full explanations and compassion from all staff involved'.

Patient, Emergency Department, Darlington Memorial Hospital