National Epilepsy Day is observed on 17th November each year. The objective behind celebrating this day is to create awareness about epilepsy. Epilepsy is a chronic disorder of brain in which nerve cell activity in the brain becomes disrupted leading to seizures or periods of unusual behavior. This condition is not restricted to any age group. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 50 million people are suffering from epilepsy, out of which 80% belong to the developing nations. Although epilepsy is treatable, patients in developing nations do not receive adequate treatment.
Symptoms of Epilepsy
- Uncontrollable jerking motions of the arms and legs
- Loss of consciousness
- Feeling of pricking pins or needles in arms or legs
- Stiff muscles (particularly arms and legs)
- Psychic symptoms
Causes of Epilepsy
- Some types of epilepsy, which are which are categorized by the type of seizure you experience, run in families. In such cases, it’s called genetic influence.
- Head injury due to accident of other traumatic injury can cause epilepsy.
- Brain conditions such as brain tumors or strokes are also responsible for epilepsy. In fact, stroke is one of the leading causes of epilepsy in adults.
- Infectious diseases, such as meningitis, AIDS and viral encephalitis can cause epilepsy.
- Prenatal injuries caused due to an infection in the mother, poor nutrition or oxygen deficiencies can lead to brain damage which further causes epilepsy.
- Epilepsy can sometimes be associated with developmental disorders such as autism.
Epilepsy Risk factors
- The onset of epilepsy is most common during early childhood and after age 60.
- If you have a family history of epilepsy, you may be at an increased risk of developing a seizure.
- Head injuries are number one cause of epilepsy.
- Stroke and other blood vessel diseases can lead to brain damage that may trigger epilepsy.
- Dementia can severely increase the risk of epilepsy.
- Infections such as meningitis, which causes brain swelling, can increase your risk.
Treatment of Epilepsy
- Most epilepsy patients can become seizure-free by taking one anti-epileptic medication. Others may require a combination of medications along with variable frequency and intensity. Your doctor will initially prescribe medicine in low dosage and may increase it gradually until your seizures are well-controlled.
Epilepsy surgery is performed when diagnostic tests show that your seizures originate in a small, well-defined area of your brain that doesn’t interfere with vital functions such as speech, language, motor function, vision or hearing.