Every year, November 17 marks the National Epilepsy Day. It is celebrated with an aim to generate awareness among people about epilepsy, its symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options. This nationwide campaign was started by the Epilepsy Foundation of India to reduce the prevalence of this disease in the country. Today, on National Epilepsy Day 2019, here we tell you all the important things about this chronic condition.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological condition that is characterized by signs and symptoms like seizures, temporary confusion, a staring spell, loss of awareness, fear, anxiety, etc. Affecting people of any age, gender, or geographical belonging, epilepsy has no identified cause. But, doctors believe that certain factors including genetic influence, head trauma, prenatal injury, autism, etc. can potentially contribute to the onset of the condition.

According to the survey of the World Health Organisation, currently, approximately 50 million people are suffering from epilepsy around the world. And, 80 per cent of people among them belong to the developing countries. So, it is significant to make people aware of the condition and reduce the number of affected people.

There are certain factors including age, family history, dementia, stroke, head injuries, etc. that can potentially increase your likelihood of suffering from the condition. If not treated or managed on time, epilepsy can lead to complications like drowning, depression, suicidal thoughts, status epilepticus (frequent episodes of a seizure lasting more than five minutes), and even death.

Diagnosis of Epilepsy

As far as the diagnosis of epilepsy is concerned, your doctor will perform a neurological exam and some blood tests before confirming the condition. A neurological exam will help the doctor know your motor abilities and mental function. In certain cases, you may also have to go through an EEG, CT scan, MRI, or PET test.

Line of Treatment

To treat epilepsy, your doctor may prescribe you anti-epileptic medications. These drugs will help you get rid of the frequent seizures and the side-effects of epilepsy like fatigue, loss of bone density, speech problem, thinking the issue, depression, and severe rashes among others. In case, the medications do not work, you may have to go through surgery during which your doctor will remove epilepsy causing area of your brain. Notably, surgery is recommended only if the seizures originate in a small and well-defined brain area and that area doesn’t interfere with important functions.