What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy, also referred to as a seizure disorder, is a brain condition often precipitated by stroke or brain tumours and characterized by symptoms like seizure, dizziness, twitching and muscular spasms. The main indicator is the episodes of seizures and each such episode can last up to a few nerve-wracking minutes.
Living with Epilepsy
Yes, living with epilepsy can be extremely challenging for the patient as well as family and friends. However, with appropriate treatment, adequate awareness of the protocols of managing a seizure, most people suffering from epilepsy can go on to lead full and normal lives.
For 50% of the patients, the seizure-prevention medicines work well, while for another 30%, the medication provides the relief of seizure frequency reduction in a big way. For those who don’t respond to medication at all, doctors often recommend surgery. A ketogenic diet often helps with children with whom anti-seizure medicines don’t work.
Unfortunately, while treatment and management of epilepsy have made enormous strides over the past two decades, awareness of the disease remains quite poor, both in terms of misdiagnosis and an unhealthy social stigma attached to the condition.
Towards fulfilling the realistic goal of living a full and active life, epilepsy patients themselves can often play the most effective role.
Here are some tips how:
# Become an expert: It’s very important to have a thorough understanding of your individual condition as an epileptic. So ask your doctor about the types of seizures you have, how the medicines work, whether it’s OK for you to be alone, how often should you review, etc. Based on these inputs, create a plan and share with your family/friends so that they know what to do in the event of a seizure.
# Monitor your condition: You can help your treatment provider by keeping a record of your seizure patterns, the medication side-effects and other symptoms. This information can help your doctor in a big way to identify seizure triggers and if required, modify treatment protocols accordingly.
# Stay connected: WHO estimates that the global epilepsy burden is over 50 million people. These days, there are support groups almost everywhere and it’s highly advisable to be part of any such support group in your vicinity. Share your story with a larger community who would be receptive and can relate to your condition. This is bound to elevate your mood and help you cope better.
# Stay active: A simple aerobic exercise regimen can help boost your confidence, sense of well-being and in turn, reduce the number of seizures. Choose a physical activity that works best for you. Even walking or cycling will help a lot. Avoid very strenuous exercises like rock climbing or contact sports like soccer. Your doctor can advise you on which exercises are safe for you. However, it’s extremely critical to stay active.
# Get enough sleep: Fatigue is a common known trigger for seizures and hence, regular and quality sleep is important. Stick to a sleep regimen that fits into your day. You must ensure you are not sleep-deprived, in order to keep your seizures in check.
# Watch your beverages: Too much of caffeinated beverages like coffee or fizzy drinks can also lead to sleep deprivation. Also, try to stay off alcohol as it might interfere with your medicines and impair judgment, thus compromising your safety.
# Try to de-stress: Another established trigger for seizures is stress. So you need to find your way to relax, choosing from a whole array of methods from meditation to exercise, aromatherapy to reiki or chanting, or whatever soothes your nerves.
# Make some alterations at home: You can make your home safer for you by making simple alterations like covering hard floors with carpeting, installing a safety strap in the shower, using a microwave to cook instead of stoves, using plastic utensils and dishes, etc.
# Don’t forget to carry an ID: It’s important to carry a medical identification document on you when you step out or travel that clearly states you are an epileptic and also mentions your medications. That will let others know what to do in the adverse event of a seizure.
Medica Ranchi’s Epilepsy Clinic provides comprehensive facilities for diagnosis, treatment and management of epilepsy under the supervision of experienced and skilled Neurologists.