Table 2

Similarities shared by asthma and epilepsy

  • Most often idiopathic. Predisposition may be attributed to family history or events in childhood, for example trauma, infection, etc. Variable age of onset and a range of biopsychosocial precipitants.

  • May present as potentially life threatening and socially alarming paroxysms, precipitated by environmental and emotional factors.

  • Often initially diagnosed clinically, with further investigation if refractory to treatment or if complicated.

  • Costly long term treatment for control of symptoms, and possibly hospital admission during exacerbations.

  • Chronic course, with intermittent clustered attacks, potentially leading to avoidance behaviour and instant, brief, and unpredictable access to a sick-role.

  • May remit spontaneously or progress to significant disability in spite of patients’ compliance with treatment.