Despite 30 million people in India suffering from various forms of neurological diseases, the awareness about epilepsy, the most common neurological disorders is abysmally low and people suffering from these often end up being ridiculed and stigmatised.Addressing a press conference recently, neurologist Dr Navin Sharma said, “Epilepsy is characterized by recurrent seizures in brain, which are brief episodes of involuntary movement that may involve a part of the body (partial) or the entire body.
In India there are about 12 million persons with epilepsy.” Sharma said epilepsy patients can lead a normal life, ruling the fact that hundreds of people continue to suffer because of misinformation and are forced to live as social outcasts.
“Lack of awareness and social stigma surrounding the disease leads to late treatment, complications and poses an emotional burden for the patient and his family members. Late diagnosis is more common in cases where there is partial epilepsy or where the first seizure is not a major seizure,” he said.
The social stigma associated with epilepsy can have significant psychological impact, particularly in countries like India with reduced opportunities for marriage, education and employment, resulting in social isolation. Talking about causes of epilepsy, Dr Sharma said, brain damage sustained from birth injury, road traffic accidents, and infections like neurocysticercosis, tuberculosis, stroke or brain tumours. With medication close to 80 per cent cases are treatable. Only 15-20 per cent cases need surgical evaluation if medical management fails.
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DO’s and don’ts at the time of epilepsy attack
- Put anything in the person’s mouth
- Try to hold down or restrain the person
- Forcibly attempt to open the clenched teeth.
- Bring Shoes, Chappals, Onions near the nose
- Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder and affects people of all ages.
- Epilepsy means the same thing as “seizure disorders.”
- Epilepsy is characterized by unpredictable seizures and can cause other health problems.
- Epilepsy is a spectrum condition with a wide range of seizure types and control varying from person-to-person.
- Public misunderstandings of epilepsy cause challenges that are often worse than the seizures.