What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a chronic noncommunicable disease of the brain where the person undergoes seizures which are brief episodes of movements of the body where they have no consciousness or power over their bodily movements, this may either be a single body part (partial) or the entire body (generalized).
Epilepsy accounts for a significant proportion of the world’s disease burden, affecting around 50 million people worldwide. The estimated proportion of the general population with active epilepsy. Globally, an estimated 5 million people are diagnosed with epilepsy each year. In high-income countries, there are estimated to be 49 per 100 000 people diagnosed with epilepsy each year. In low- and middle-income countries, this figure can be as high as 139 per 100 000, as mentioned on the World Health Organization (WHO) website.
Epilepsy may be a common disease in today’s day and age but the limitations it puts on people who suffer from it may change their day to day activities in a drastic way. Common life skills like driving and swimming, and staying up late are not advisable for the simple reason; if they undergo a seizure in such situations without someone around it may be serious.
The perspective of a patient with epilepsy is very important, but today we spoke to a family member of a patient with epilepsy to get their perspective.
Harsh (name changed on request) opens up to us about his sister and her episode with Epilepsy. “I was in fifth grade when I saw my sister get her first seizure. It was a normal weekday and we were both getting ready for school. I had just finished taking a bath, Coincidentally all four of us were in the same room – my sister, my mother, my father, and I. My sister was going to enter the washroom, suddenly her eyeballs disappeared and she fell to the ground- my mother was there to catch her. She was shivering which now we understand was a seizure. Once she opened her eyes, she had a hard time recalling what had happened before the seizure. She was admitted to the hospital for days and was later given medication, three months of that year were warded off and she missed a major chunk of her school work which seems like the last priority now but affected her deeply back then. But, the scariest part was that we were completely oblivious of what had happened. Now it has become common but there isn’t much information about it in general curriculums. Most information garnered is either through word of mouth or individual research. ”
Harsh further continues, “12 years and 7 seizures later, we have learned to live with it and things have settled, she has normalised having 3 medicines twice a day, swimming under guidance and not staying up till very late. But, the fear of the first seizure is still set in our minds. The constant worry when she is away is there but even we have learned to live with it. “
“The person who goes through this is affected the most but their family is affected by how affected they are.” says Harsh.
This World Epilepsy Day, let’s increase awareness and provide comfort to those affected by it!
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