In India, November 17 is observed every year as National Epilepsy Day to create awareness about epilepsy. Epilepsy is a chronic disorder of the brain characterized by recurrent ‘seizures’ or ‘fits’. The seizures are caused as a result of sudden, excessive electrical discharges in the neurons (brain cells). The condition can affect people at any age and each age group has unique concerns and problems.
Where does epilepsy occur?
Epilepsy occurs in the brain which generates brief, strong, and sudden abnormal bursts of electrical energy. This affects many other parts and functions of the brain leading to recurrent unprovoked seizures. When these seizures happen twice or more, it is usually observed as the case of epilepsy.
Recurrent seizures are brief episodes that may cause involuntary movement in the body – partially or entirely. Loss of consciousness and control of bladder function are additional signs which may accompany the seizures. Seizures episodes take place due to the excessive discharges in the neurons. People at any age can get affected by this. However, issues and experiences can vary from person to person of different age groups.
What is the WHO statistics for epilepsy?
According to World Health Organization (WHO), about 50 million people have this disease across the world, out of which 80 percent of people are living in developing countries. Although epilepsy is treatable, yet three-fourths of affected people in developing countries do not receive the required treatment. In India, about 10 million people suffer from seizures associated with epilepsy.
Symptoms of epilepsy
- Sudden twitching (uncontrollable jerking motions of the arms and legs)
- Loss of consciousness
- Tingling sensation (feeling of pricking pins or needles) in arms or legs
- Stiffness in muscles of arms or legs or face
Causes of this disease
- Brain damage from prenatal and perinatal injury
- Congenital abnormalities
- Brain Infections
- Stroke and Brain Tumors
- Head Injury/ Accidents
- Prolonged high fever during childhood
There is more than one type of seizure in epilepsy. Some are harmless while others can be life-threatening. Being a brain disruptor, it affects almost every part of the body. At times, a seizure can be associated with certain circumstances that work as seizure triggers. The triggers are evident over a period of time.
Examples of this disease
- Lack of sleep
- Physical fatigue or overexertion
- Physical or emotional stress
- Hot and humid environment
- Alcohol or other drug use
How to deal with seizures in epilepsy
- Don’t panic
- Loosen any tight or uncomfortable neckwear
- Allow the patient to rest or sleep
- Put a soft pillow under their head
- Remove sharp or other harmful objects from around the person
- Do not put anything into the patient’s mouth as there is a fear of swallowing tongue