Essay Example on Harriet Tubman Life with Epilepsy

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When asked about Harriet Tubman many people might begin to think about the Civil War McDonough 73 or Underground Railroad However some people have not heard of her other feats or of the fact that she survived a deadly injury as a teenager in an attempt to save a fellow slave being chased Her heroic act resulted in a fairly common condition of the brain Larson with a cause still troubling scientists today Bender 11 A bold woman Tubman led a very demanding yet influential life through a troubling medical condition called epilepsy To begin with epilepsy is a medical condition causing various types of seizures A seizure occurs when the brain suddenly takes on an abnormal condition inducing a sudden temporary event of transformation in one s awareness movement or behavior Bender 8 These include but are not limited to smelling nonexisting scents having unusual sensations or experiencing a convulsion a stiffening of the entire body followed by uncontrollable shaking Emanuele 9 In addition one may become confused as to where they are or what they are doing During more severe seizures a person may lose consciousness or fall over Bender 8 However only one in every fifty people who experience seizures has been diagnosed with epilepsy 13 In the light of that epilepsy is a condition not a disease It is not contagious but rather caused by a fault in the brain's communication system Bender 8 To explain the human brain is composed of millions of tightly packed nerve cells called neurons 



Messages in the brain travel as electrical signals through neurons However these cells are not actually touching each other They have narrow spacings called synapses Messages pass across the synapses to get to where they need to go Normally these messages flow in an orderly direction at a regular speed and strength but a person with epilepsy sometimes experiences disruptions or overloads of disorganized messages This triggers a seizure 10 All things considered scientists are still unsure why the electrical problems in the brains of people with epilepsy occur Bender 11 Most of the time no cause of seizures themselves is ever found In some cases doctors have been able to find the causes of certain cases and can eventually stop patients seizures Emanuele 11 Around two thirds of people with epilepsy have no physical brain differences than those without epilepsy Bender 11 Through studies it has been found that epilepsy may have a genetic cause 12 While an infant's brain grows and develops problems can occur that probably cause epilepsy to develop later on It is known for sure that accidents with blows to the head and brain tumors can lead to epilepsy 8 In any case epilepsy can affect people of all ages and races Bender 9 It is most common in children and the elderly 8 People all over the world are affected 9 including over three million Americans 8 Strangely enough some seizures go undetected by the one experiencing them 8 As they get older some individuals even grow out of the condition entirely 9 At the same time people are growing out of this condition others are seeking treatments for it 



A surgery called the vagus nerve stimulation involves implanting a device under one s left collar bone Later if that person senses a seizure coming on they can activate the device to send messages to their brain for seizure prevention In addition laser surgery on the brain can cut away damaged parts or tumors curing some types of epilepsy Lastly seizure dogs make not only lovable pets but helpful detectors of oncoming seizures for their owners It is not fully understood how they do it but seizure dogs are able to sense seizures about thirty seconds before they happen To signal this to their owners they will do something specific such as barking or lying down and being still Bender 38 Nevertheless people with epilepsy have several limitations in life Students can suffer from learning disabilities and studying for too long can trigger seizures Bender 32 Driving can be an issue as well While allowed to take driver's education state laws vary in stating how long a person needs to be seizure free before being permitted to drive Emanuele 39 Further on down the road elderly people with epilepsy tend to experience worse memory loss than many of their peers do as a side effect of antiepileptic drugs Bender 37 Sports also serve as a common issue Contact and extreme sports should be avoided by those not willing to take risks For example a boxing punch can cause an immediate seizure for those with epilepsy Non contact sports however are generally healthy as long as normal precautions are taken like wearing a bicycle helmet 34 In spite of their limitations people living with epilepsy can live normal lives if their seizures are controlled 9 Harriet Tubman is a well known historical individual who contracted epilepsy from a head injury



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