New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: Every year on November 17, India observes National Epilepsy Day to create awareness about the disease. The day is also used for making people aware of the symptoms and treatment of epilepsy. Around 50 million people suffer from epilepsy globally according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Of these nearly 80 per cent of people live in low- and middle-income countries. Therefore, it is important to make people aware of the condition and reduce the number of affected people.

In an exclusive interview with Jagran English, Dr. Abhishek Juneja (DM Neurology), Consultant Neurologist, Maharaja Agrasen Hospital & Dr. Juneja's Neuro Centre discussed the causes, symptoms, and treatment of epilepsy. Here are excerpts from the interview:

What is epilepsy and what causes epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder affecting brain. It is manifested in the form of repeated episodes of fits or seizures. It can affect any individual, irrespective of age or gender. It can occur following brain injury, infection, or tumour. Common causes of epilepsy in our country include brain Tuberculosis, Neurocysticercosis, and alcohol dependence.

What is a seizure and what triggers it?

Seizure is a neurological problem occurring in the form of abnormal jerky movements of limbs. It may be associated with up rolling of eyeballs, clenching of teeth, or urinary incontinence. Atypical seizures can happen in the form of absence attacks or focal jerky movement of one limb. Seizures can get triggered because of many reasons. Common triggers include lack of sleep, photosensitivity, and alcohol ingestion.

How is epilepsy diagnosed?

Epilepsy is an under diagnosed disease due to associated social stigma and lack of awareness among common people. It can be diagnosed based on clinical history, physical examination, neuroimaging in the form of CT or MRI scan of brain, and electroencephalogram (EEG).

How is epilepsy treated?

Once diagnosed, epilepsy can be treated with medicines and if required, brain surgery. Multiple therapeutic options in the form of safe and effective medicines are available today to treat epilepsy. The patients can lead a normal healthy life after taking these medicines for 2-3 years without fail. The medicines have to taken regularly as advised by the neurophysician to cure this ailment.

How epilepsy can be prevented?

A healthy mind stays in a healthy body. Epilepsy can be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle. One should follow a proper meal and sleep schedule, do regular physical exercise, avoid tobacco smoking or alcohol, and keep stress levels under check.

Posted By: Sugandha Jha