Go Purple on 26 March for people living with Epilepsy

Epilepsy Action Australia (EAA) is asking Australians to ‘Forget Me Not’ for Purple Day on Monday 26 March; a day dedicated to increasing awareness of epilepsy, the world’s most serious brain disorder¹.

New research findings² from Epilepsy Action Australia reveal epilepsy is a forgotten condition that is poorly understood in the community³.

“The number of people with epilepsy in Australia exceeds that of many well known diseases such as breast cancer⁴, yet the condition remains at the bottom of the pile when it comes to awareness and attention²,” said Epilepsy Action Australia Chief Executive Officer, Carol Ireland.

The research found Australians are very familiar with classic seizures when people ‘fit and fall’ to the ground. But there was low appreciation for the fact that seizures can come in many forms and can be very subtle in how they present. The findings also revealed very limited understanding on how epilepsy impacts people on a psychological and social level.

“The forgotten day-to-day challenges that people with epilepsy face is much greater than controlling seizures alone: longer term struggles can include maintaining relationships and friendships, memory problems, job security and general socialisation,” said Ms Ireland.

“Many of these longer term struggles have a ricochet effect on the family unit, and the role of support networks and services such as those EAA provides, are critical in assisting families though the journey.”

Epilepsy is one of the oldest conditions known to man – reviewed by Hippocrates in 400 BC and described in the Bible. It is a brain or neurological condition that affects people of all ages – from small babies up to seniors. It’s most common in those under the age of 20 or 65 years and over⁵.

In some cases, people can experience literally hundreds of seizures in a day – while in others, seizures may occur just once a year, or less. Up to one third of those with the condition are unable to get reasonable control of their seizures despite treatment⁶. Surgery offers the only potential cure for epilepsy, but is suitable for just a very small percentage of those with the condition⁷ and success rates are low.

Purple Day on Monday March 26 is dedicated to raising awareness of epilepsy as well as much needed funds for people living with the condition in Australia.

For more information about Purple Day visit www.epilepsy.org.au/purpleday
or phone 1300 37 45 37.

1. World Health Organization. Executive summary. In: Atlas; Epilepsy care in the world. Geneva: WHO, 2005.
2. Research methodology: Survey conducted nationally by Stollznow Research (March 2012) among 500 Australian adults (aged 18 or over).
3. Based upon 30 June 2011 Statistics from ABS. Updated on 23/12/11
4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare & National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre** 2009. Breast cancer in Australia: an overview, 2009. Cancer series no. 50. Cat. No. CAN 46. Canberra: AIHW. ** In July 2011, National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre (NBOCC) amalgamated with Cancer Australia to form a single national agency, Cancer Australia.
5. Page 173. Epilepsy a-z a concise encylopeadia tatum w o et al   2009  New York demos medical publications.
6. Page 328. Epilepsy a-z a concise encylopeadia tatum w o et al   2009  New York demos medical publication.
7. Page 328 Epilepsy a-z a concise encylopeadia tatum w o et al   2009  New York demos medical publications.

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