WHAT IS EPILEPSY?
This is a condition that is characterized with a tendency of recurrent seizures. Seizures (or convulsions) occur when there is abnormal electrical discharge in the brain. This may be triggered by chemical imbalance or a structural abnormality. The term epilepsy is used to cover a variety of seizure types. These differ in cause, nature, severity, management and long-term outcome.
There are many types of seizures and a person may have more than one type. No two people will have the same symptoms. The type of seizure depends on which part of the brain is affected. If the whole brain is affected then the seizure is known as "generalized" and there is a loss of consciousness, however brief.
If only part of the brain is affected, then it is known as "partial" or "focal" and consciousness although affected may not necessarily be lost. This comes with the captions of the brain.
Just as people's seizures vary, so do recovery times. This can be from seconds
HOW TO RECOGNISE A SEIZURE
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE
Grand Mal (Generalised Seizure)
This is the most common sequence. It is associated with staring, stiffening of the body, possible blue color around the mouth, jerking movements and many others. As breathing restarts normal color returns. There may be blood flecked saliva and incontinence (rare). Last a few minutes.
Petit Mal (Absence Seizure)
The person looks blank and stares. There may be blinking or slight twitching. It lasts a few seconds then normal activity continues
Simple Partial Seizure (Jacksonian Fit)
It may be motor or sensory or both, If motor, movement starts from an extreme end of the limb and spreads to cover the whole of one side of the body. This is termed Jacksonian march. The person remains conscious.
If the other side gets involved a person loses consciousness and gets a generalized seizure. After recovering from a fit usually there is temporary paralysis of the side where the movement started. This is called Todd's Paralysis
Complex partial seizure (temporal lobe epilepsy)
It starts with an AURA. The patient gets any of the following:
Churning sensation in the abdomen which spreads to the chest or neck (Epigastric Aura).
In case any of the above experiences is present, it will happen in a similar way during every attack it occurs in
CAUSES OF EPILEPSY
- Un known causes
- Hereditary causes
- Birth injury
- Febrile convulsions during childhood
- Infections(Syphilis,HIV/Aids,tape worms,ochocerciasis)
- Head injury
- Brain tumors
- Alcohol abuse
- Drug abuse
NOTE: Witch craft, demons or curses do not cause epilepsy!!
Protect the Head
Put the person in a recovery position and cover Him/Her
MEDICATION FOR EPILEPSY
PWE have special medicines called AED's (Anti Epileptic Drugs)
- Sodium Valproate
The above drugs should be given and taken under the direction of a trained psychiatric health worker, (psychiatric Nurse, Clinical officer), Neurologist or a Doctor versed with epilepsy or mental health issues.
PWE should adhere to medication and drugs should never be shared.
CHALLENGES OF PWE
- Neuropsychological effects like: poor memory, language skills, executive functions and motor speed.
- They are also prone to migraines, psychological problems especially anxiety and depression.
- People with Epilepsy (PWE) are approximately five times more likely to have psychiatric problems than the general population and the more the frequency of seizures the greater the degree of psychopathology.
- Furthermore psychiatric disease is associated with suicide in PWE.
WHAT WE NEED TO DO
- The public and the patients need to develop a positive attitude to seizure disorders in general, so as to minimise on the stigma attached to these conditions.
- Sensitisation of the public in order to raise awareness through talk shows, the visual and printed media and schools should be encouraged.
- Peer Support groups for patients with epilepsy should be strengthened
- Epilepsy should receive healthcare priority in Schools and other learning Institutions.
- Need to encourage parents, relatives, friends, public and private sectors and NGO's to get involved in the local activities of the Global Campaign against Epilepsy.
- Elimination of discrimination against epilepsy in all spheres of life, particularly in schools and at work places.
- Promote interaction with traditional health systems.
- Listen to PWE and give them same treatment like other patients
- Encourage basic and applied research on epilepsy.
- Encourage regional and continental co -operation.
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- Epilepsy and Relationships
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- Epilepsy and the Women
- Truth about Epilepsy
- Living with Epilepsy
- Maternal Health and Epilepsy
- Medical Management of Epilepsy
- Parenting and Epilepsy
- Epilepsy Dos and Don'ts
- ZERO DESCRIMINATION
- Epilepsy FAQs
- About Epilepsy
- Diagnostic Tests
- Drug Therapy
- Epilepsy and the Elderly Person
- Epilepsy in Children
- Living with Epilepsy
- Epilepsy & Relationship
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