Temporal lobe epilepsies are common in adolescents and younger adults, while strokes, head injuries, and brain tumors are causes in the elderly.

Approximately 50 million individuals are affected by epilepsy globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Due to a lack of knowledge, people often fail to take care of those with this condition. To address this, International Epilepsy Day is observed on the second Monday of February.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures. Uncontrollable jerking, shaking movements, loss of consciousness, confusion, sudden falls, staring spells, and difficulty in speaking are the symptoms.

The causes of epilepsy include genetic factors, brain injury or infection, abnormal brain development, brain tumors, stroke or other vascular diseases, and exposure to toxins or substances that affect the brain. The cause of epilepsy depends on the age of onset of seizures. For example, perinatal injury, respiratory distress, hypoglycemia, hypocalcemia, brain infections, and hemorrhage are common causes in newborns, while febrile seizures are common in preschool children.

Temporal lobe epilepsies are common in adolescents and younger adults, while strokes, head injuries, and brain tumors are causes in the elderly.

Taking care of people with epilepsy

While there is no guaranteed way to prevent epilepsy, Dr Srinivas Botla, senior consultant neurosurgeon, suggests steps one can take to reduce the risk. These include using seat belts, child passenger seats, and wearing helmets, preventing falls by installing grab bars in bathrooms, using non-slip mats, and avoiding walking on wet surfaces. “A diet with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases that can contribute to epilepsy. Exercise can help improve health, reducing the risk of epilepsy.

Sleep deprivation is a trigger for seizures, so seven to eight hours of sleep per night is recommended. Managing stress through yoga and meditation is important. Alcohol and drugs lower the seizure threshold.”

Dr A Soumya Reddy, consultant neurologist, says, “Management of psychosocial issues is as important as treating epilepsy, and adequate counselling helps boost confidence. Evaluation and treatment of anxiety, depression, and quality of life may require the involvement of psychiatrists.”

Additionally, Dr Reddy advises patients with seizures to avoid activities like driving and swimming, working at heights, etc.

“They should comply with their medications. In the event of a seizure at home, bystanders should remain calm and help the patient lie in a sideways position without tightly holding their limbs. Recording the seizure event on a phone can help the treating physician. A patient experiencing a prolonged seizure lasting more than five minutes, termed status epilepticus, requires immediate hospitalization in the ICU for stabilization.”

Dr Botla highlights the efficacy of the Ketogenic Diet (KD) – a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet for seizure reduction, the Modified Atkins Diet (MAD) for improved compliance, and the Mediterranean Diet for potential benefits in epilepsy management.

 

Source: newindianexpress.com, Bosky Khanna

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