National Epilepsy Day 2023
National Epilepsy Day is observed on November 17 in India to raise awareness about epilepsy and its impact on individuals, families, and society. Dr. Nirmal Surya, through the Epilepsy Foundation of India, initiated this day to provide assistance to those unable to afford treatment, dispel myths, and create awareness about epilepsy symptoms and management.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a condition where unexpected and distressing seizures occur, impacting a person’s control over their movements, sounds, and sensations. This brain disorder results from abnormal electrical activity or temporary changes in the brain’s functioning.
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the brain normally produces tiny electrical impulses in an orderly pattern. However, in epilepsy, these electrical rhythms become imbalanced. Sudden bursts of electrical energy disrupt the usual pattern, affecting consciousness, movements, or sensations.
Epilepsy manifests in various ways, with symptoms varying among individuals. Some may lose awareness during a seizure, while others might stare blankly or experience convulsions, where arms or legs twitch. Noteworthy individuals like Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, and Elton John have faced and overcome epilepsy.
Globally, about 50 million people grapple with epilepsy, with India contributing 10-20 percent to this burden. The World Health Organization reports that 70 percent of epilepsy cases can be successfully managed with medication and certain surgeries.
Types of Seizures:
Seizures are broadly classified into focal and generalized, depending on the location of abnormal brain activity.
- May alter emotions or sensations temporarily.
- Can lead to involuntary jerking, tingling, dizziness, or flashing lights.
- Impaired awareness may result in staring into space or repetitive movements.
- Absence seizures involve staring into space or subtle body movements.
- Atonic seizures cause a loss of muscle control, leading to a fall.
- Clonic seizures feature repeated, jerking muscle movements.
- Myoclonic seizures are sudden, brief jerks or twitches.
- Tonic-clonic seizures cause loss of consciousness, body stiffening, shaking, and sometimes loss of bladder control.
Understanding epilepsy is crucial for dispelling myths and supporting those affected. National Epilepsy Day plays a significant role in fostering awareness and providing assistance to those in need.