Epilepsy is treatable and persons with the condition can lead a normal life was the message that doctors underscored at an awareness programme at the Government Stanley Hospital here on Thursday.

The programme was organised by the hospital's Neurology Department as part of the World Epilepsy Day. Head of the department S. Gobinathan emphasised the need to take medicines regularly. “Once diagnosed, you will have to take the medicine for three to 10 years, depending on the condition. But the key is to take the medicines regularly,” he said.

“Anybody can get epilepsy. Poor nutritional status of the mother during pregnancy affects blood supply and as a result nutrition and oxygen supply to the brain of the foetus and the mother. In children below 12, epilepsy could be due to bacterial or viral infections, febrile fever and worm infestation,” Dr. Gobinathan added. In adolescents, hormonal imbalance and use of toxins could cause epilepsy. Victims of head injuries at any age, uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension are also triggers for epilepsy in adults above the age of 50. Doctors in the department said persons with epilepsy can get married, have children, take up regular jobs and do not require restrictions in food. The patients were also explained the need to undertake the diagnostic medical tests.

An imbalance in electrical impulses in the brain results in seizures. Some methods to avoid the imbalance are to avoid late nights, television or work on the computer for a long time. The programme targeted patients coming to the outpatient department, which receives around 400 persons during the OP day, Dr. Gobinathan told The Hindu. “The OP department functions thrice a week and we receive 40 new patients in the 15 to 70 age group on every OP day,” he said.

Dr. Gobinathan said it is best to exempt such persons from night shifts. Though most patients are treated using medicines, some may require surgery. Senior hospital authorities who participated urged the patients to make the best use of the services provided by the hospital.

Keywords: Epilepsyneurology