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A Guideto Epilepsy: The 4th Most Common Neurological Disorder

Globally, 50 million people are affected by Epilepsy. Out of which, 10 million reside in India alone.

Each day in this modern world is a battleground for an individual. But, for Epilepsy patients and their families living is much more complex than for others. Several challenges like the fear of unexpected seizures, recurring stress and anxiety, and nasty falls, make living with this condition overwhelming. Knowledge can make managing this journey easier by illuminating the path ahead for both patients and their families.


It is important to know the answers to questions such as what is Epilepsy, what causes it, and how it can be managed. Proper knowledge can assist the affected individuals in coping with the disease. This post is an empowering quest that uncovers the answers to such questions and more about Epilepsy. So, continue reading below if you or anyone close to you is affected by Epilepsy or curious about it.


What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder worldwide. It is a non-communicable chronic brain disease. It causes repeated seizures. Seizures are identified as brief episodes of involuntary movements of any body part, or in some cases, it may involve the entire body. Epilepsy can also result in seizures accompanied by loss of control of bowel, and bladder function, and consciousness.


The seizures in this condition result from the excessive electrical discharges in a brain cell group from any part of the brain. The level of these seizures varies from brief muscle jerks or attention lapses to prolonged and severe convulsions. They can also vary in frequency. Some individuals face them only once a year, while others get them several times daily. A person is said to be affected by Epilepsy only if they have experienced two or more unprovoked seizures in their lifetime.


Epilepsy is one of the oldest recognized disorders. The written records for it have been dated back to 4000 BCE. However, despite being identified in ancient times, several individuals lack the correct knowledge. The main reason behind this lack of knowledge is the fear and social stigma surrounding it. Such social issues make living a quality life for the affected individuals and their families challenging.


After explaining the exact meaning of Epilepsy, this guide will discuss Epilepsy causes in its next section.


What are the causes of Epilepsy?

The causes for Epilepsy remain unidentifiable in some individuals, while in others, it can be traced to one of the below-listed causes-

Head trauma-

Head trauma from a traumatic injury or car accident can result in Epilepsy


Infections-

Several infections like HIV, viral encephalitis, parasitic infections, and Meningitis can cause Epilepsy.


Genetic influence-

Epilepsy also runs in family genes. Based on several trusted pieces of research, this disorder is linked to some specific genes. However, genetic Epilepsy is not always hereditary, and some can get it due to genetic changes in a child.


Pre-birth injury-

Another cause of Epilepsy is an injury or damage caused to the sensitive brains of babies before their birth. Such injuries and damages are caused due to poor nutrition, infection in the mother, and oxygen deficiencies.


Brain factors-

Several factors in the brain, like brain tumors, can also cause Epilepsy. Blood vessel formation in the brain can also result in this disorder. Individuals above the age of 35 can have this disorder due to strokes.


Developmental disorders-

People with autism and other developmental diseases can also be affected by Epilepsy. Also, researches suggest that Epilepsy affected individuals can develop developmental disorders like ADHD.

As you have now understood the leading causes of Epilepsy, let me introduce you to its signs and symptoms.


What are some Epilepsy signs and symptoms?

Some common Epilepsy symptoms and signs are as follows-

  • Temporary confusion

  • Staring

  • Body stiffening

  • Brief periods of unresponsiveness to words or noise

  • Rapid eye blinking periods

  • Involuntary arms and legs jerking movements

  • Breathing issues

  • Loss of awareness and consciousness

  • Loss of bladder and bowel control

  • Sudden unreasonable falls

  • Rhythmic head nodding


The next and last section of this comprehensive Epilepsy guide answers the most common question- Is Epilepsy curable? It also lists the most effective tips to manage this condition better.


Is Epilepsy curable?

No, to date, no cure for Epilepsy has been found. However, to reduce its effects on individuals, healthcare professionals might use several medications, therapies, treatment options, and surgeries to reduce the frequency of seizures. Such Epilepsy treatment ways have also helped numerous individuals with becoming seizure-free.


Being an unpredictable disorder, Epilepsy often prevents the affected individuals from living normally. However, there are several management techniques and tips recommended by doctors to manage it better. Some of these are-

  • Follow medication schedule-

Missing out on the prescribed medication doses can make one's condition worse. Strictly following it can help reduce seizures and, in some cases, eliminate them.

  • Identifying triggers-

Identify the patterns of the seizure and observe if anything specific triggers them.

  • Appropriate sleep schedule-

Insufficient sleep can also trigger seizures in Epilepsy affected individuals. Therefore, getting the right amount of sleep is a must.

  • Regular exercise-

Stress and lack of physical activity can also trigger seizures. So, to reduce stress and anxiety, affected individuals must follow an exercise routine.


Final thoughts

Misconceptions have resulted in the development of social stigma regarding Epilepsy. Reading the above guide will help you eliminate such myths and live a better life if you or anyone near you is affected by Epilepsy. By adopting the management tips and lifestyle adjustments listed above, one can live a normal life like others by reducing the risk of seizures. The people near such individuals must also be equipped with the proper knowledge of this disorder. This awareness is important to foster an inclusive environment for people with Epilepsy.

 

The Author : Dr. Sunil Khattri

sunilkhattri@gmail.com

+91 9811618704



Dr. Sunil Khattri MBBS, MS(General Surgery), LLB, is a Medical doctor and is a practicing Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi.




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