AUSTIN, TX. (KXAN) — The death of Disney star Cameron Boyce is sparking a conversation about Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP).
The 20-year-old actor died in his sleep July 6 after suffering from a seizure, according to his family.
“It is rare and the overall risk if about 1 in 10,000 people per year with epilepsy so that’s the first thing everyone should know about SUDEP when they are dealing with epilepsy,” explained Dr. Aaron Cardon of Child Neurology Consultants of Austin
He says while SUDEP is rare, controlling seizures with medication is key.
“Taking your medication regularly and making sure it’s right for you leads to control of the seizures and it’s the uncontrolled seizures that are the strongest predicator that you would be at risk of SUDEP,” Dr. Cardon said.
The neurologist says he also recommends families come up with a plan to reduce the risk of SUDEP by alerting them if something is wrong at night.
“It can range from a smartwatch that identifies particular forms of seizures or back to something as simple as a baby monitor or sleeping in the room with the other person,” he said.
An estimated 3.4 million Americans have epilepsy, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and those with uncontrolled seizures are at higher risk for unexpected death.