Understanding Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP)

Understanding Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP)

Costa Titch's sudden death while he was performing on stage has shocked a lot of people. He reportedly had a history with epilepsy. Here is what you need to know about Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). 

Woman collapses on the floor
Woman collapses on the floor/ iStock

South Africa was shocked to learn about the sudden passing of musician Costa Titch. 

The 28-year-old collapsed on stage during his performance at the Ultra Music Festival at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Although it is not clear what led to him collapsing, Costa, whose real name is Constantinos Tsobanoglou, reportedly had a history of seizures. 

Sadly, seizures can be brought on by flashing lights, and Costa was on a stage with flashing lights when he collapsed and died. This has led to some speculation that he suffered from SUDEP. 

READ: Rapper Costa Titch dies after collapsing on stage

According to Epilepsy.com, epilepsy affects approximately 50-million people worldwide, and Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) claims the lives of more than 1 in 1000 epileptics every year. 

The site also reports that people with all types of epilepsy that experience convulsive seizures can be at risk of SUDEP. 

Can SUDEP be prevented? 

SUDEP cannot be prevented, but controlling seizures is one of the best ways to minimise the risk.

How to diagnose epilepsy

- A health practitioner might ask the patient about their family history – if anyone in the family has suffered from epilepsy. 

- There are also blood tests that will be done to check for signs of infections, genetic conditions or other conditions. 

- Health practitioners will perform an EEG (electroencephalogram) testing. 

- There is also a Computerised Tomography (CT) scan that will be done to check what might be triggering the seizures.

- Another test that might be done is a Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which uses magnets and radio waves to create a detailed view of your brain. 

READ: Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy Day - Causes and treatment for epilepsy

How to treat epilepsy

- The most common treatment is giving the patient anti-epileptic medication. Your doctor will decide on the best medication based on what causes your seizures, how long they last, how often they occur, and your age. 

- Surgery might be performed to remove the area of your brain that's causing seizures. However, this will only be performed if it doesn't interfere with vital components of your brain. 

- A Ketogenic Diet has been proven to help people who suffer from epilepsy. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before you choose the ketogenic diet, as it might have other health problems such as kidney stones. 

The diet consists of a lot of fat and less protein and carbohydrates. It has been proven to reduce seizures by at least 50%.

READ: Doctor's advice on how to deal with epilepsy

Image courtesy of iStock/ @miriam-doerr

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