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National Epilepsy Day 2023: Causes, symptoms and how to deal with seizures

National Epilepsy Day serves as an opportunity to highlight the challenges faced by those living with epilepsy and recognise their resilience and determination to lead fulfilling lives.

Edited By: Kristina Das @ New Delhi Published on: November 17, 2023 11:36 IST
National Epilepsy Day 2023
Image Source : FREEPIK Epilepsy causes, symptoms & how to deal with seizures.

Epilepsy Day is observed on November 17th every year to create awareness about this medical condition and to bust the myths and stigma surrounding it. Many people may have a single seizure in their lifetime and that doesn't amount to Epilepsy. Epilepsy is considered when a person has multiple seizures or has a significant risk of having another seizure after experiencing one because of underlying risk factors like delayed developmental milestones, family history of seizures, abnormal neurological examination, febrile seizures during childhood or head trauma.

According to Dr Kandraju Sai Satish, Consultant Neurologist & Epileptologist, Yashoda Hospital, Hyderabad, age is immune to seizures. Though the incidence of seizures is higher during the early and late stages of life, they can be seen for the first time at any age. While a cause can be found in many people with seizures, in a few cause remains unknown. Seizures can be classified as focal when they start from one small part of the brain on one side, and generalized, when seizures start from the whole of the brain simultaneously. This segregation is of vital importance as the medications which are used to treat focal and generalised seizures differ. Taking medications religiously without missing any single dose, having adequate sleep and avoiding recreational drug abuse are paramount to good control of seizures. 

Though there are many side effects of anti-seizure medications described in literature they are very uncommon and also not everyone who takes those medications is bound to experience them. Though we need to be cognizant of these possible side effects, they should not be a deterring factor to use them. 70 per cent of people will have no recurrence of seizures with regular medications while the rest have Drug Refractory Epilepsy, wherein they continue to have seizures despite being on well-chosen and well-dosed medications. Hence choosing appropriate anti-seizure medication according to the kind of seizure and the personal profile of the person is of utmost importance. While all  People with Drug Refractory Epilepsy are evaluated for any possibility of surgical remediable cause, only a minority of them can find good control of seizures following surgery. 

The doctor has also explained that it is important to understand that surgery is done to control seizures but not to stop medications. There is the possibility of a person with epilepsy losing their life during a seizure, a condition called SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy), it is of great importance to have good control of seizures. Having known all the above facts, he emphasizes that there is no reason why a person with epilepsy cannot excel in any sphere of life. Some stalwarts have outgrown Epilepsy and made a mark in their field. People with epilepsy can lead a normal life as anyone albeit with appropriate medications. As research progresses, we Epileptologists are hopeful of new medications in the coming future which are more potent and safer. Lastly, he highlighted that people with epilepsy need to accept the condition with a positive perspective towards it and that's how one can conquer it.


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