Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Epilepsy is Treatable

epilepsy 1
Twenty-year-old Manu is a lonely boy. Third child of the presswala of a middle-class locality of Delhi, he is ostracized by friends and people of the neighbourhood, because he gets epileptic seizures. His mother keeps running to different faith healers to find remedy to his ailment, but to no avail. Manu wasn’t born like that but when he was eight-year-old he fell from the terrace of the first floor and sustained head injuries. Since then he has been getting these fits off and on. .
Dr Manjari Tripathi, associate professor of neurology with AIIMS says, “Epilepsy is a very common neurological disorder, but it is shrouded in misconceptions and ignorance.” There are stigmas attached to epilepsy which emanate from our ignorance. As a result people affected with epilepsy are subjected to discrimination, separation and are made to feel inferior.
My Health Guardian demystifies top five myths attached to epilepsy—
Myth No. 1 People suffering from epilepsy have devil inhabited in their bodies. This doesn’t mean that they are evil but the devil inside them makes them convulse time to time and faith healers resort to various methods (often painful and cruel) to exorcise the evil.
Fact: In our country the commonest causes of epilepsy are—
• Lack of proper care of the baby during the process of delivery– If proper oxygenation of the brain does not occur of the newborn baby during birth due to absence of life support to the child it can cause seizures in the baby.
• Absence of adequate hygiene–it implies not washing hands and raw food products. This also includes eating poorly cooked meat products which harbours the cysts of tapeworms.
• Head injuries–these are common because of chaotic traffic and people do not wear helmets.

Myth No. 2: Do not marry someone with epilepsy. A survey of public awareness at AIIMS revealed that 82% of parents objected to their children marrying someone with epilepsy.
Fact: Persons with epilepsy can marry and have children just like any other. They can seek guidance about dispelling myths from the doctors.

Myth No. 3: Bystanders who witness a seizure will often spray water on the forehead of the person experiencing the seizure of make him or her smell a leather shoe to stop the seizure.
Fact: None of these measures treats or stops a seizure. Just turn the patient to the side making sure that the person is on an even surface and can’t injure him/ her. If the seizure lasts for more than 5 minutes the person needs urgent medical attention.

Myth No. 4: Many traditional healers can cure epilepsy.
Fact: Most seizures are self limiting and they may recur later. The best way to treat epilepsy is to consult a neurologist/epileptologist.

Myth No. 5: Epilepsy is thought to be contagious and so people do not share food with someone affected with the disease.
Fact: Epilepsy is not contagious. In fact, it is the Least contagious disease.

The best part of having epilepsy is that it is a very treatable disorder and a variety of medicines from the most inexpensive to the costliest are now freely available in our country. Most specialists now know how to manage this disease thanks to the efforts of the Indian epilepsy society and association. The guidelines for epilepsy management are now avaialble online.www.ilae-epilepsy.org/visitors/initiatives/GEMINDbook.cfm.

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Category: Neuro disorders
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2 Responses

August 9, 2010
K K Deepakl

Very well written article


August 9, 2010
K K Deepak

Very well written article.


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