Epilepsy is a brain disorder characterized by repeated seizures that cause a sudden alteration of behaviour and sensation due to temporary changes in the electrical functioning of the brain. The electrical rhythm of the brain gets imbalanced in epilepsy causing recurrent seizures. It is one of the most common neurological disorders globally with around 50 million people being affected by it. Around 70% of people affected with epilepsy can live a seizure free life if diagnosed and treated properly.
Seizures can be classified into two types depending on area of the brain affected.
Epilepsy symptoms depend on the type of seizure, but a person with one type of epilepsy has the same symptoms in every episode.
Common epilepsy signs and symptoms include:
In a majority of people with epilepsy there is no known cause. However, the condition can be traced to one of the following factors:
There are certain factors that can increase the risk. Epilepsy risk factors include:
Epilepsy diagnosis is made based on signs and symptoms, neurological examination and imaging tests. It is important to diagnose the type of epilepsy and seizure to plan the treatment.
Epilepsy treatment includes antiepileptic medications, surgery or alternative therapies.
Most people with epilepsy can be seizure-free by taking one or more anti-epileptic medication. Children with epilepsy who aren’t experiencing any symptoms can eventually discontinue medications. Many adults too can discontinue medications after two or more years without seizures. There are more than 20 different anti-epileptic medications and choosing the right one is a bit of challenge. The drug chosen depends on the age, type of seizures and overall health of the patient.
When medications do not provide adequate control over seizures, a surgery may be required. A surgery is performed only if the origin of the seizure is in a well-defined area of the brain and operating in that area does not interfere with any vital functions.
During surgery, the area of the brain that is causing the seizures is removed. This is usually done using minimally invasive MRI-guided stereotactic laser ablation. Some medications need to be continued after surgery but in a lower dosage.
The Centre for Neurosciences at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Indore has a Comprehensive Epilepsy Programme that provides the best medical and surgical treatment for epilepsy. The expert team at the Centre extends support beyond treatment by creating awareness about epilepsy via support groups and patient education programs. These initiatives aim at removing the fear and stigma surrounding epilepsy.