A neurological disorder, epilepsy affects normal brain activity and causes it to become abnormal, which results in seizures or periods of unusual behaviour, sensations and loss of awareness .
The chronic disorder causes sudden recurrent seizures that are unprovoked. The type of epilepsy is classified by the type of seizure a patient has. Seizures are of two types mainly, generalized seizures and focal or partial seizures . Generalized seizures affect the whole brain and partial seizures affect just one part of the brain.
A common neurological disorder, epilepsy affects 65 million people around the world. It is estimated that there are more than 10 million persons with epilepsy (PWE) in India and various studies point out that the overall prevalence of epilepsy in India is 5.59-10 per 1000 people .
Epilepsy is more common in young children and older adults and it occurs slightly more in males than in females. There's no cure for epilepsy, but the disorder can be managed with medications. Epilepsy can develop at any age. Diagnosis usually occurs in early childhood or after age 60.
In 50 per cent of the people, there is no specific identifiable cause and in the other half, the condition may be linked to various factors such as the following :
If you have a parent whose epilepsy is linked to genetics, that increases your risk to 2 to 5 per cent .
Seizures are the main symptom of epilepsy, and it can differ from person to person and according to the type of seizure.
Focal (partial) seizures: When the seizures appear to result from abnormal activity in just one area of your brain, they're called focal seizures. And, simple partial seizure symptoms include the following :
Complex partial seizures involve loss of awareness or consciousness and the symptoms are as follows :
Generalized seizures: These are of six types and they are as follows :
Some of the most common triggers of an epileptic seizure are as follows :
However, a single incident doesn't always mean something is a trigger as it is often a combination of factors that trigger a seizure.
Seizures, at certain times, can lead to dangerous circumstances such as the following :
You must immediately go to a doctor in the following cases :
To diagnose your condition, the doctor will review your symptoms and medical history. Several tests may be ordered to diagnose epilepsy and determine the cause of seizures. The diagnostic tests include the following :
In most people, epilepsy can be managed. The treatment for you will be based on the severity of symptoms, your health, and your response to therapy. The treatments for epilepsy are as follows :
Q. Can epilepsy be cured?
A. Today, most epilepsy is treated with medication. Drugs do not cure epilepsy, but they can often control seizures very well.
Q. Can you grow out of epilepsy?
A. Studies show that the majority of children with epilepsy grow out of it, with or without treatment.
Q. What are the first signs of a seizure?
A. Temporary confusion, a staring spell, uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs, loss of consciousness or awareness and cognitive or emotional symptoms, such as fear, anxiety or deja vu.
Q. Can you feel a seizure coming on?
A. Seizures can last from a few seconds to a few minutes, and sometimes it's hard to tell that a person is having one.
Q. How can epilepsy kill you?
A. Death from epilepsy is rare. The leading cause of death among people with uncontrolled epilepsy, sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, or SUDEP, kills 1 in 1,000 people who have the disorder.
Q. What is the first sign of a seizure?
A. Warning signs may include feeling funny or dizzy, or having jerking and twitching for several years.
Q. Does epilepsy go away with age?
A. Treatment with medications or sometimes surgery can control seizures for the majority of people with epilepsy. Some people require lifelong treatment to control seizures, but for others, the seizures eventually go away. Some children with epilepsy may outgrow the condition with age.
Q. Can puberty cause seizures?
A. Puberty does not cause epilepsy. But some girls find that changes in their hormones can trigger seizures. Some types of epilepsy syndromes usually begin during your teenage years.
Q. What is the rarest form of epilepsy?
A. Dravet syndrome is a rare form of childhood epilepsy but possibly more common than was previously thought.
Q. What a seizure looks like?
A. There are slight variations, but a typical tonic-clonic seizure will look like: A sudden loss of consciousness, sometimes with vocalisation or calling out. The eyes, head and body may turn in one direction. The body becomes stiff (tonic), followed by jerking of the muscles (clonic).
Q. Can you have a seizure in your sleep?
A. You can have a seizure with any form of epilepsy while you sleep. But with certain types of epilepsy, seizures only occur during sleep.
26 March is observed as Epilepsy Awareness Day, also called Purple Day. The day focuses on increasing the awareness of epilepsy, a neurological condition affecting nearly 50 million people worldwide, in society.
What Is Purple Day/Epilepsy Awareness Day?
Launched in 2008 by Cassidy Megan, a young girl, Purple day was started to raise awareness for people with epilepsy and to let them know that they aren't alone. The day encourages awareness of epilepsy and to cast away some of the myths related to the condition.
By 2015, the day began to be observed in many countries and as of today, Purple Day is celebrated all around the world in over 100 countries.