PUNE: People suffering from epilepsy can lead a normal life with timely diagnosis and proper treatment, said experts. According to doctors, these patients generally lack confidence, hence family support is supreme. November 17 (Saturday) is National Epilepsy Day.
Speaking to Sakal Times, neurologist Dr Rahul Kulkarni said there is a direct correlation between knowledge and attitude. He said, “Right attitude will lead a person to gather more knowledge and would help to be more aware. There is a need to create awareness about epilepsy. While more than 50 per cent of the women with epilepsy are in the reproductive age group, there are many questions that arise in the minds of these women, including that of fertility.”
“The questions like whether the baby will be healthy, whether breastfeeding will be possible make rounds in their mind. We need to educate that those with epilepsy are normal people and can lead a normal life with correct diagnosis and medications,” said Dr Kulkarni.
He added that over 90 per cent of these women may not have any problems. “Those with epilepsy generally have low self-esteem and lack confidence. So, what is required is support from family members,” said Dr Kulkarni.
Dr Sandeep Patil from Apex Institute of Child Neurology, Pune, said epilepsy affects one per cent of the population in Pune, which is roughly 34,000 patients.
“Of these 6,000 children in Pune are under the age of six years, who have this condition. Reasons for epilepsy could be an infection in the brain, birth-related problems or head injuries and in some cases genetic. The overall prevalence of epilepsy is higher in adulthood, but a majority of them get it in childhood before the age of 12 years,” said Dr Patil.
He added that with proper treatment and care, epilepsy in children can be treated effectively with 70 to 75 per cent children not needing medication and treatment lifelong.
“Children with epilepsy can attend regular school and should be allowed to take part in all regular school activities, including sports but under the guidance and permission from doctors. The teachers and school administration should also be informed,” said Dr Patil.
According to Dr Balagopal Nair, Regional Medical Director, Abbott Pharmaceuticals, said early and accurate identification of types of seizures, epilepsy and any associated conditions can help get the patient the right kind of medication.
“Education on the disease is crucial pertaining to myths and misconceptions prevalent in most of our communities about the medical nature of epilepsy among patients and their families, its characteristics, causes and prognosis,” said Dr Nair.
Dr Nilesh Palasdeokar from Spine Clinic said people with epilepsy should not hide their condition, consult a doctor, take treatment regularly and lead a normal life.
“The social stigma associated with epilepsy can have a significant psychological impact, particularly in countries like India with reduced opportunities for marriage, education and employment, resulting in social isolation,” said Dr Palasdeokar.