Srinagar, Nov 16: Epilepsy, a disorder characterized by repeated fits due to sudden excessive electrical activity in the brain, may produce jerks in the limbs, unresponsiveness, and spells of unawareness. It is commonly observed in young people and in elderly individuals, particularly after the age of 65.
Noted Neurologist, Dr Sushil Razdan said that a significant number of epilepsy patients fall within the age range of the young and those over 65, with patients distributed evenly between urban and rural areas.
According to Dr Razdan, the primary causes of epilepsy include inadequate obstetric care during birth, head injuries and various infections, particularly the Taenia solium infection. In young people, potential causes may be structural, genetic, infectious, metabolic, immune-related, or related to birth trauma. In contrast, causes in the elderly are often linked to trauma, strokes, and even tumours, he said.
Common symptoms of epilepsy include staring, jerking movements of the arms and legs, stiffening of the body, loss of consciousness, breathing problems or cessation of breathing, loss of bowel or bladder control, and sudden falls without apparent reason, especially when associated with a loss of consciousness, the neurologist added.
Dr Sushil also mentioned neurocysticercosis, a condition caused by the larval stage of the pork tapeworm (Taenia solium), on the human nervous system. This disease is a major contributor to epileptic seizures in many less developed countries, he said.
Despite the curability of epilepsy through modern technology, Dr Razdan said that inadequate awareness, and the stigma associated with the disease, hinder proper treatment. He said early detection and treatment are crucial for effective management.
“Epilepsy is highly treatable through both surgery and medication, allowing eight out of ten patients to lead normal lives. Various medications are available to treat seizures and epilepsy, selected based on factors such as the type of seizure, age, side effects, cost, and patient adherence,” he said.
With advancements in technology and medical expertise, those with epilepsy can have families of their own, the noted neurologists said.