Celebrating their 50th year, the Indian Epilepsy Association (IEA) is conducting many webinars and media campaigns all over the country to bring more awareness about epilepsy. Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders and most of the patients do well on anti-seizure medications, said Dr Parampreet S Kharbanda, Chairman, Indian Epilepsy Association (Punjab Chapter). However, there are many doubts and misconceptions about epilepsy in the mind of the general public, said Dr Vineet Sehgal, Secretary of the Indian Epilepsy Association (Punjab Chapter). There are also different types of epilepsy requiring different types of treatments. Epilepsy is not contagious. So, living with a person with epilepsy will not put anyone at risk.
Causes and prevention
Essentially, epilepsy is a tendency to have recurrent seizures due to abnormal electrical discharge in the brain. It is a medical disorder and can be managed with proper treatment. Some seizures/epilepsies can be prevented by being aware of the risk factors. For example, unsafe childbirth without adequate medical support can lead to brain damage and epilepsy in the newborn. Consumption of unhygienic food can lead to neurocysticercosis in the brain, one of the common causes of seizures in our setting. Driving rash or without helmets can lead to accidents and brain injury, another common cause of epilepsy. Well-controlled epilepsy doesn’t create many hurdles. Some medicines are effective for specific types of epilepsies, so they should be started after consulting the appropriate doctor.
The experts said that the prescribed medicines need to be taken regularly, as missing even a single dose of the anti-seizure medicine can cause seizure recurrence.
Experts suggested that trying to stop a seizure by making patients smell shoes, putting water in their mouth, or trying to open the clenched teeth, etc., should not be done. They said that these measures can cause harm.