NEW YORK– Idahostatejournal.com writes that minor cases of focal epilepsy often go undiagnosed. Focal epilepsy that only affects a small part of the brain and has less severe symptoms is more likely to go unnoticed or undiagnosed for extended periods of time. The condition can later cause a person to suffer seizures. If an individual sustains a seizure while behind the wheel of a car, the results can be devastating car accidents.
Focal epilepsy is the most common form of epilepsy, which is a brain disorder. Patients suffering from minor symptoms often go long periods without being diagnosed by a physician. More minor forms of seizures may lack certain hallmarks of these conditions, such as the uncontrolled movement of the individual’s limbs. A brief hallucination, dreamlike states, or strong senses of a Deja vu phenomena can be forms of these miner seizures.
Doctors now recognize the risks of delayed epilepsy diagnosis. The study found that many patients have symptoms of minor nonmotor seizures for up to six years prior to receiving an epilepsy diagnosis. The study identified 23 individuals who reported being involved in one or more car crashes prior to their diagnosis. Researchers believe that earlier diagnosis could prevent one car crash for every thirteen people who are promptly diagnosed with epilepsy. Worldwide earlier diagnosis would likely prevent approximately 1,816 car crashes each year.
Medical emergencies can lead to car crashes, but few collisions overall are the result of drivers suffering medical conditions while behind the wheel. Driver behaviors are still far more likely to cause a car accident than are medical emergencies. For instance, speeding, distracted driving, and drunk driving cause much higher numbers of collisions every year than do medical emergencies. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, only 1.3 percent of all car crashes are the result of a driver suffering a medical emergency while operating a vehicle.
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