Health Watch
International Epilepsy Day 2016 -'Epilepsy is More Than Seizures'
The World Epilepsy day 2016 is celebrated on February 8th, this is the second year it is celebrated, since its initiation last year. It is celebrated to help people cope with the condition and to dispel the stigma that continues to plague people with epilepsy.

Though 70% of people who suffer an epileptic seizure can be effectively treated with the right medication, most people are still denied the right to
i) Education
ii) Work
iii) Marriage

The International Epilepsy Bureau (IBE) and The International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) initiated this awareness day for epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a condition in which the brain is susceptible to a burst of electrical energy that leads to seizures among many other symptoms. The seizures may range from blank stare to sudden uncontrolled shaking movement of arms and legs with frothing in the corners of the mouth.

Epilepsy can occur at any age, even children have been diagnosed with epilepsy.

Epilepsy Statistics in India:

1. Overall prevalence in India- 5.59-10 in 1000

2. More number of males (5.1 in 1000) are affected than females (2.2 in 100)

Hot Water Epilepsy:

Epilepsy is induced when hot water is poured over the head. This is seen in South India with a prevalence of 1.44 to 2.00 in 1000.

Causes of Epilepsy

In most cases the cause is unknown. Some of the known causes include,

a) Genetic

b) Brain injury due to accident

c) Gun shot wounds

d) Stroke

e) Infectious diseases

The theme for this year's World Epilepsy Day is : " Epilepsy is more than seizures".

Most of the epilepsy cases are in developing countries as there is a marked treatment gap, which is the lack of proper medical care. The treatment gap in developing countries like India is due to

a) Lack of knowledge about the disease

b) Inability to procure medicines

c) Improper/ insufficient intake of medication

d) Existence of superstitious beliefs that thwart medical interventions

e) Increased stigma leading to nondisclosure of the disease

Stigma against Epilepsy:

i) Epilepsy is not contagious

ii) Epilepsy may affect the ability to drive but does not affect the ability to work

iii) Epilepsy does not lead to neurological disabilities

iv) Epilepsy does not lead to violent behavior

Creating Social Media Awareness for World Epilepsy Day 2016:

People are encouraged to hold placards with #epilepsyday with their location and put it up in their Twitter account.

Flash mobs will be conducted in Finland to spread awareness about epilepsy.

The concerted efforts by people to spread facts about epilepsy will instill faith in patients leading to better care for them and greater acceptance from their family. Meanwhile, advancements in medical research prove to be a boon. Recently a new simulator aids in identifying regions of the brain that are affected by epileptic seizures, opening doorways for personalized care. Medical use of marijuana in the control of seizures has been found to be helpful in the care of an epileptic patient.

Take these little steps to enrich the lives of epileptic patients,

a) Eliminate myths

b) Build hope and trust

c) Help with employment

d) Ensure proper treatment and care




3. Nandanavana Subbareddy Santhosh, Sanjib Sinha, and Parthasarathy Satishchandra, "Epilepsy: Indian perspective" ; Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2014 Mar



Source: Medindia

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