what triggers seizures ? What is Epilepsy ?
We should know in details what triggers seizures ? Epilepsy is the second most common and frequently seen neurological condition. It imposes heavy burden on individuals, families, societies and also on the health care system of any country.
What is the prevalence of epilepsy in India ?
Worldwide nearly 50 million people are living with Epilepsy. Most of them spend their life in developing countries. In India there are approximately 10 million people with epilepsy .
Prevalance of epilepsy is about 1% in India with high rate in rural (1.9%), as compared to urban (0.6%) population.
What are the challenges of epilepsy in India ?
There is a massive gap between the number of patients who could be benefitted from epilepsy surgery and those who actually receive this treatment.
Lack of knowledge and misunderstanding about epilepsy leads to delayed diagnosis.
Most important thing is that about 95% of people in India who suffer from epilepsy are never treated for it and almost half of the sufferers do not have access to anti epileptic drugs (drugs used for treatment of epilepsy).
To narrow this treatment gap is a major challenge in India.
Why it is important to know about epilepsy ?
People with epilepsy often do not get proper education. They do not find jobs and also do not get married. Many don’t realize that they are affected, because they are not aware of the risk factors. Many person may not seek treatment because of pressure from society. Awareness of the illness and treatment options are needed desperately in India.
What are the risk factors for epilepsy ?
Attacks of epilepsy can occur at any phase of life ranging from small child to old person. There are certain risk factors, which might increase the chances of getting an epileptic attack.
These risk factors include serious brain injury, brain tumor, stoke, blockage of vessels, cerebral palsy, brain infections in the form of abscess, meningitis or encephalitis.
Other risk factors are consumption of infected pork and unwashed vegetables.
Signs and symptoms of epilepsy:
There are general symptoms of epilepsy, like loss of awareness for brief periods, short attention black outs, brief strange behavior, memory gaps or no response.
Patient may fall suddenly. Number of times unusual movements like head nodding, rapid blinking occur.
Patients also report stomach pain followed by confusion and sleepiness. Some person Also report stiffness or twitching in some parts of the body such as an arm or hand.
How does epilepsy progress ?
Progression of epilepsy is generally slow. Epileptic seizures can occur either immediately or may remain asymptomatic (without any symptoms) for years.
These patients progressively have a group of symptoms that lead to increase in seizure frequency and collective side effects despite taking proper medicines.
Gradual nerve cell or brain decay occur frequently in these patients after first epileptic seizure. Patients with epilepsy usually have function decline that worsen with duration of epilepsy.
What special care is required for patients with epilepsy?
Epilepsy can be different for each person, therefore the need for care can vary to a greater extent.
Some people with epilepsy do not need any additional care while others may need a lot of care. Some person with epilepsy only need care when they have a seizure episode.
How can one maintain mental function during epilepsy ?
Low mood and depression can have an impact on epilepsy and epilepsy can affect person’s mood too.
Person with epilepsy can keep-up with the mental health and function by-
- Staying connected to their family.
- Trying to talk to people they trust, about how they feel.
- Trying to have a regular good night’s sleep.
- Eating a balanced diet.
- Trying not not to drink too much alcohol.
- Trying to get as much exercise as they can. Exercise releases chemicals called endorphins into the body, which are natural antidepressants.
- Talking to doctor and asking him about their mental health.
Role of caregiver in diagnosis and treatment for epilepsy
As a caregiver we can support the person with epilepsy by following ways:
- Immediately calling for medical help.
- By giving emergency medicines
- Staying with them or taking them home safely after a seizure.
- Observing any triggers or patterns to seizures.
- Accompanying patients during their appointments, providing descriptions of seizures to the person with epilepsy.
- Help patients in joining their doctors during leisure activities that are risky like swimming.
- Providing transport to the patients if required .
- Helping patients to adapt their post seizure life style.
What can anyone do to prevent epilepsy ?
Many actions lower the risk of chronic diseases and boost overall health and well-being.
These are some ways which will definitely useful to the person with epilepsy-
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
- Engage in social and intellectually stimulating activities.
- Control diabetes.
- Lower the high blood pressure levels
- Lower the high blood cholesterol levels
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Stop smoking
- Get treatment for depression.