People who continue to have seizures are at greater risk of several complications, which is why preventing seizures and other problems are so important. The most serious complications are injuries and death from seizures. This section gives frank information about one of the more common causes of dying from seizures called “Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy,” which is abbreviated SUDEP.
What is SUDEP?
SUDEP is the sudden, unexpected death of someone with epilepsy, who was otherwise healthy. In SUDEP cases, no other cause of death is found when an autopsy is done. Each year, more than 1 in 1,000 people with epilepsy die from SUDEP. This is the leading cause of death in people with uncontrolled seizures.
Can SUDEP Be Prevented?
Until further answers are available, the best way to prevent SUDEP is to lower your risk by controlling seizures. Research has found that people with all types of epilepsy that experience convulsive seizures can be at risk.
For most people living with epilepsy today, the disease can be controlled with available therapies and good seizure-management practices, such as avoiding seizure triggers and including the support of an epilepsy specialist. And for people with the most severe types of difficult to control epilepsy, there are steps an individual can take to lower one’s risk, including epilepsy surgery, neurostimulation devices, dietary therapies, and participating in research to find new, more effective therapies.
- Learn how to get the best care and decrease your risk for SUDEP.
- Check out the #AimForZero Special Report that identifies four key actions to help reduce your risk of seizures