Epilepsy is a neurological disease characterized by repeated abnormal electrical discharges from the brain, resulting in fits or convulsions. Either a part of the body can be involved called as partial or focal epilepsy; or the whole body is affected called as generalized epilepsy. During a generalized epileptic attack, the person can lose complete consciousness resulting in falls or injuries.
How is epilepsy diagnosed?
Epilepsy is diagnosed on the basis of clinical description of the seizure episode. So, it is important for the eye witness to accurately describe it to the neurologist. Doctor may get brain scans and EEG to confirm the cause and type of seizure.
Is epilepsy treatable?
Epilepsy is very well treatable with medications (anti-epileptic drugs). Neurologist would be able to select the best medication depending on the type of epilepsy and also age & sex of the patient. The medicines are required to be taken for long-term without any discontinuation.
Can women with epilepsy get married?
Women with epilepsy can get married and have normal married lives. They can get pregnant and have babies just like other women. Neurologist would advise on the safe anti-epileptic drugs in pregnancy and some vitamins (folic acid) are also required. Please discuss regarding any concerns with your neurologist.
Can people with epilepsy do normal jobs?
Most jobs are safe for people with epilepsy. However, they should avoid driving, swimming and other hazardous activities, as occurrence of seizures during these activities can be dangerous.
Is epilepsy a result of bad evils/demons?
No, they are only misconceptions.
What are the first aid measures to be adopted when someone has an epileptic attack?
1. Make the person lie down on one side (either left or right)
2. Do not give water or anything else by mouth, as it can get aspirated into lungs (causing pneumonia) in an unconscous person.
3. Try to prevent any injury because of fall or tongue bites.
4. Intra-nasal midazolam may be safely given at that time.
5. There is no point giving any keys or any other metals in person's hands, or making him smell handkerchief or socks.
6. Take him to the nearest clinic/hospital at the earliest.
Dr Sudhir Kumar MD (Medicine), DM (Neurology)
Senior Consultant Neurologist
Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad