17 NOVEMBER : National Epilepsy Day

Updated: Aug 5

In India, November 17 is observed every year as National Epilepsy Day to create awareness about epilepsy. Epilepsy is a chronic disorder of brain characterized by recurrent ‘seizures’ or ‘fits’. The seizures are caused as a result of sudden, excessive electrical discharges in the neurons (brain cells). The condition can affect people at any age and each age group has unique concerns and problems.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), about 50 million people have epilepsy across the world, out of which 80 percent people are living in developing countries. Although epilepsy is treatable, yet three-fourth of affected people in developing countries do not receive the required treatment. In India, about 10 million people suffer from seizures associated with epilepsy.


The symptoms of epilepsy are as follows:

  • Sudden twitching (uncontrollable jerking motions of the arms and legs)

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Tingling sensation (feeling of pricking pins or needles) in arms or legs

  • Stiffness in muscles of arms or legs or face

Causes of Epilepsy

  • Brain damage from prenatal and perinatal injury

  • Congenital abnormalities

  • Brain Infections

  • Stroke and Brain Tumors

  • Head Injury/ Accidents

  • Prolonged high fever during childhood

Management


Tips to deal with Seizures

  • Do not panic.

  • Do not try to restrain the person during a seizure.

  • Remove sharp objects or other harmful objects out of the person with seizures.

  • Loosen any tight neck wear.

  • Gently roll the person onto one side so that any fluid in the mouth can safely come out.

  • Put something soft under his or her head.

  • Do not put anything into the person’s mouth for the fear of swallowing tongue.

  • Be with the person until medical help arrives.

  • Allow the person to rest or sleep.

  • Epilepsy is mostly treatable with medications. The critical thing about epilepsy is that one should not delay its treatment. Start the treatment as soon as it is diagnosed. This prevents further deterioration of the condition.


Tips for Epileptic patients

  • Take the epilepsy medications regularly as advised by doctor, even if you are not having seizures.

  • Do not discontinue the medications without your doctors’ advice.

  • Consult your doctor while taking any other medications to avoid possible side effects or any complications.

  • Do not drink alcohol as it provokes seizures.

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