One in four newly-diagnosed epileptics are over 60, but pre-existing illnesses and living alone can prevent an accurate diagnosis. We find out what to do in the event of a first-time seizure
Every four minutes in the UK, a person is diagnosed with epilepsy. Contrary to common belief, the life-threatening condition – which affects one in every 103 people – does not always begin during infancy. In fact, epilepsy can strike at any age, and the over-65s are now the largest group in which a first seizure is reported.
Almost a quarter of people with newly-diagnosed epilepsy are over 60, yet the condition is becoming increasingly difficult for doctors to diagnose, particularly in individuals with existing medical conditions. However, the onset of the condition in later life may be an early indicator of cerebrovascular disease, which can cause strokes and brain haemorrhages.
Epilepsy Action is campaigning for better care and access to relevant treatments for epilepsy. Yet, with few geriatricians specialising in epilepsy, the need for improvements in the treatment of late-onset epilepsy has never been greater. We ask the experts at Epilepsy Action for their advice on spotting, and dealing with first-time seizures.