Epilepsy subject of seminar

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by Al Williams

The “huge part” of reducing the stigma associated with epilepsy is through learning and awareness, an educator says.
Epilepsy Association of New Zealand educator Anna-Lee Odell will host a seminar in Timaru about epilepsy.
Ms Odell said the June 21 session would cover causes, recognising different types of seizures, first aid and management of seizures and lifestyle issues associated with epilepsy.
“Epilepsy is a neurological condition affecting around 1% of the population in New Zealand,” she said.
“Anybody of any age can develop it and it is defined as a tendency to have recurrent seizures.”
Causes included birth injuries, head trauma, tumours, infections including meningitis, encephalitis, degenerative and vascular dementia, stroke, hormonal changes and genetically inherited conditions.
“For some people, the cause is unknown,” Ms Odell said.
“One of the most common misconceptions is that a person will be on the ground and convulsing, whereas there are actually other types of seizures so this is not always the case.
“There are many types of seizures, and the seminar covers recognising different types of them to help people understand this.
“There are other misconceptions which include it being contagious, which it is not; or that it is a mental illness, it is neurological; or that epilepsy is rare. It is very common.”
A “huge part” of reducing stigma was through learning and raising awareness, she said.
The meeting is scheduled for June 21 from 2pm at Mid-South Canterbury Community House.
Anyone interested in attending of finding out more about epilepsy can contact Ms Odell at canterbury.westcoast@epilepsy.org.nz , 0800 374-537 or 27 270-6689.