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Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) is when a seemingly healthy person with epilepsy dies unexpectedly, and the reason for death is unknown. More than one out of 1,000 people with epilepsy die from SUDEP each year, and for those with poorly controlled seizures, the risk increases to one out of 150.

Keeping your seizures controlled through medication or other therapies and avoiding seizure triggers is the best way to reduce your risk of SUDEP.

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Risk factors include:

  • Epilepsy beginning in childhood
  • Past Status Epilepticus
  • Having seizures at night
  • People between 20 and 40 years old
  • Not taking medications regularly

Strategies to reduce your risk:

  • Avoid seizure triggers
  • Avoid excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Live a complete and healthy lifestyle (including adequate sleep, balanced nutrition, regular exercise, etc.)
  • Take medications exactly as prescribed

While this information may be scary to read, it’s not meant to be. We are committed to helping people be aware of the seriousness of epilepsy and what they can do to prevent complications and death. Sometimes death from epilepsy occurs suddenly and can’t be prevented. In other situations, there may be some things people can do to avoid or modify situations and risks.

People who continue to have seizures are at greater risk of a number of complications, which is why preventing seizures and other problems is so important. The most serious complications are injuries and dying from seizures. This site gives frank information about SUDEP.

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