November is Epilepsy Awareness Month, a time to highlight the neurological disorder which can affect people of all races, ethnic backgrounds and ages.
People with epilepsy experience abnormal brain activity, causing sudden brief attacks of altered consciousness, motor activity or sensory phenomena, known as seizures. Seizures involve sudden, temporary bursts of electrical activity in the brain that change or disrupt the way messages are sent between brain cells.
As stated by the Epilepsy Foundation, these electrical bursts can cause involuntary changes in body movement or function, sensation, behavior or awareness. Some people with epilepsy may stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others repeatedly twitch their arms or legs, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Some people experience seizures unrelated to epilepsy, known as “provoked seizures,” that are brought on by lack of oxygen or a physical cause, such as an acute medical illness or head injury. Other seizures unrelated to epilepsy are known as Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures (PNES), which are thought to be the body’s response to physical or emotional distress that the brain is detecting, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.
Every brain has the potential to seize, but a person with epilepsy has a lower seizure threshold, meaning they are more likely to have seizures than people without epilepsy.
The HHSC Epilepsy Program works with providers and clinics in Texas to make sure eligible Texas residents with epilepsy or seizure-like symptoms can get comprehensive outpatient services to prevent, detect and treat health problems. Comprehensive outpatient care may include:
- Diagnosis and treatment.
- Case management for ongoing care.
- Integration of personal, social and vocational support services.
For more information about eligibility and how to apply, visit the Epilepsy Program website.
The Children with Special Health Care Needs program (CSHCN) helps children and young adults age 20 and younger who have special health care needs, of which epilepsy and seizure disorders are qualifying diagnoses. Qualifying children and young adults served through CSHCN have access to comprehensive health care services, including medical, mental health, dental, vision, special medical equipment and additional support services, such as case management.
For more information about eligibility and how to apply for services, visit the CSHCN website.