Seizures and convulsions cause deaths and injuries...
Each year, in the UK, epilepsy alone causes about 1,100 deaths and 44,000 emergency hospital admissions, and breathing difficulties feature prominently in many of these cases. However, the total death toll from all causes of seizures and convulsions is certainly very much greater. Most deaths and injuries occur in `care settings' - either in the sufferer's own home or in a care home, and it's been estimated that a large proportion of these deaths are preventable.
In people with learning disabilities, epilepsy is the most common medical condition and is much more likely to be complex and treatment resistant.
In older people it's not generally realised that in the UK, age 70+ is the most common time of life to develop seizures. The causes include brain tumours, strokes, head injuries after falls and dementia.
In all patient groups (children and younger people, older people and people with special needs) seizures and convulsions include not just epileptic seizures but also non-epileptic `symptomatic' seizures resulting from the other causes described earlier.
In children and younger people with Down's syndrome the frequency of seizures increases with age, and as many as half of all children with cerebral palsy suffer from seizures.
In people with special needs of all ages, seizures can be common in Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Angelman syndrome, Sturge-Weber syndrome, Landau Kleffner syndrome and Rett syndrome.
For people with epilepsy, the likelihood of an early death is two or three times more likely
than for people in the general population.
Many deaths could be prevented by following closely an epilepsy management plan
and raising awareness of sleep seizures.
IMPORTANT: Sleep-Safe pillows should not be used for babies and children under three years old. However, after reaching this age children who are 'at risk' should start using Sleep-Safe pillows as soon as possible and continue to use them for as long as they remain 'at risk'. Children with epilepsy want to be just like everybody else, and after we've grown up enough for our shoulders to be wider than our heads, most of us sleep more comfortably with a pillow.
Sleep-Safe pillows are an aid in the management of medical conditions in which suffocation is a risk; they are not a substitute for the “duty of care”. Standards of nursing and social care and vigilance appropriate to the patient’s condition should be maintained.