Removing misconceptions, public education on causes and triggers of recurrent seizures along with proper diagnosis, medical support and lifestyle modifications will help manage Epilepsy better according to experts.
National Epilepsy Day is observed on 17 November every year. A seizure is an abnormal electrical discharge in the brain that disrupts normal brain functioning temporarily. When the seizures become recurrent, the condition is called Epilepsy.
Dr Mudassar Kharadi, Neurologist and Epitologist at Sahyadri Hospitals says that. While removing the stigma and misconceptions associated with Epilepsy is important, it is also important to understand the causes and triggers as also the caregiver’s role. Seizure triggers may include stress, missed medication, sleep deprivation and tiredness, alcohol, infections etc. Causes are different and may include genetic factors or other brain conditions like brain injury, stroke, infections or other neurological conditions. The causes and triggers are different for different individuals.
Dr. Mudassar added that understanding epilepsy by both the patient and the caregiver is very important as incidences of seizures can cause a lot of concern to the family people around the patient at that time. The jerky movements of arms and legs, confusion state of the patient, and dizziness can be scary for those who witness. It is important to know the do’s and don’ts and not panic as epilepsy is manageable. Correctly identifying a seizure can help keep the person safe and rule out other emergencies such as a stroke.
Dr. Mudassar added that a person who gets a seizure with no prior history or anybody who faces recurrent seizures should contact the doctor immediately. Accurate Diagnosis is a key to the treatment of epilepsy. Therefore the information given to the doctor by the family members who witness the seizure is extremely crucial. Diagnosis may include clinical examination, blood tests, neurological examinations, Electroencephalogram (EEG) etc. The treatment generally includes medicines.
Surgery is another option for drug-resistant epilepsy patients (seizures not getting controlled by two or more medicines). Surgery is also an option when the seizures are originating from a small well-defined area and if operated will not affect other vital functions of the brain.
Lifestyle modifications including having proper sleep, diet, exercise, keeping blood pressure, blood sugar in check, taking medicines on time can ensure a better quality of life for those who have experienced recurrent seizures.
Author: Dr Mudassar Kharadi, Neurologist and Epitologist at Sahyadri Hospitals
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