LAURA Marsden didn’t take her epilepsy too seriously until she found out about the risk of sudden unexpected death.

Now Laura, 26, of Eastleaze, is backing SUDEP Action’s campaign to raise awareness of SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy) on its dedicated awareness day today.

“I first heard about SUDEP from my neurologist around 18 months ago,” said Laura, who was diagnosed with the condition when she was 19.

“And to be honest, It was a real eye opener as to how serious my condition can be.

"I didn’t really take my epilepsy too seriously before that as I didn’t want to let it affect my life more than it had already. I still live by this but I’m more cautious around the house and at night.”

It is the second time the charity, that which works towards prevention of epilepsy deaths through research education and awareness, has held an awareness day after launching it last year.

The campaign is backed by more than 40 epilepsy organisations and patient groups globally, and aims to bring positive messages to encourage people with epilepsy to learn about SUDEP, their individual risks and ways in which they can manage their condition in order to reduce their risk as well as raise vital funds for research.

Using the theme ‘Are You SUDEP Savvy?' the campaign attempts to raise awareness about ways people with epilepsy can manage their condition in order to reduce their risk.

It also honours the lives of all those who have died from the condition.

Charity chief executive Jane Hanna OBE has been campaigning for SUDEP Awareness for more than 20 years.

“If you have epilepsy, we would like you to know that there are things you can do to reduce your risk of SUDEP, such as taking your medication regularly and reliably and making sure you have regular reviews,” she said.

“Not everyone with epilepsy is at risk, it is important you discuss your risk with your health professionals.

“We are also encouraging health professionals to talk to their patients about SUDEP and epilepsy risks; this can be done positively with the right information. Having the SUDEP conversation with your patients can help them make informed lifestyle choices and help them take steps to reducing their risks.

“Working with epilepsy organisations from the USA, Europe and Australia and with our partners on SUDEP –the Global Conversation, We have put together some great awareness materials and they are available for download for free on the campaign site”

Epilepsy claims around 1,200 lives in the UK every year, at least 600 of these through SUDEP.

For more information about the condition or to seek support visit or call 01235 772 852.

Research shows about 42 per cent of these deaths may be preventable through better management of known risk factors. There are around 600,000 people with epilepsy in the UK and around 87 people are diagnosed with the condition every day.

Epilepsy carries a risk of death of about two to three times higher than the general population. In the UK it is the fifth highest contributor to premature death in men, and eighth in women, and it is most common in young adults.