5 Lakh Born With Epilepsy Every Year; Awareness Major Hurdle for Patients

Five lakh infants are born with epilepsy every year in India. If treated early, quality of life can be improved.

Published: 23rd July 2015 03:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd July 2015 03:22 AM   |  A+A-

Dr Manas Panigrahi

HYDERABAD: Five lakh infants are born with epilepsy every year in India. If treated early, epilepsy can be cured to a greater extent and quality of life can be improved. But lack of awareness and various myths pervading about epilepsy are coming in the way of patients approaching a doctor. Most of the patients come to a doctor only after the problem aggravates and becomes unbearable, Dr Sita Jayalakshmi, senior neurologist at KIMS hospital, said here on Wednesday.

To create awareness about epilepsy an epilepsy support group has been formed at KIMS hospital in Hyderabad on Wednesday on the occasion of World Brain Day. Epilepsy patients, those who have successfully undergone epilepsy surgery, their family members, doctors, among others are part of this group.

Speaking on the occasion she said not even 20 percent of epileptic patients approach doctors. Among all the epilepsy patients, about 70 percent can be treated with medicines and the remaining 30 percent ‘select group’ need ‘epilepsy surgery’. With advanced surgical techniques available today, neurologists and neurosurgeons opine that the recurrence of seizures can be decreased.

‘’First a patient is given medicines for about two years and most of them get cured with medicines. Only if we find that medicines are not giving the desired results, we suggest surgery for a patient,’’ explained Dr Manas Kumar Panigrahi, senior neurologist at KIMS.

Epilepsy surgery is a multi-disciplinary surgery, involving neurologists, neurosurgeons and psychiatrists. The surgery will either completely free the patients from seizures or reduce the number of seizures by almost 90 percent. But most of the patients are unaware of these advanced health care practices.

‘’We suggest an epileptic patient to approach a doctor without wasting time and also suggest to take a surgery in selected cases as epilepsy surgery is totally safe. Also epilepsy surgery can also save a patient from facing problems in his future life. Mainly in case of children, if they need a surgery, it would be better to do it early as child’s development will not suffer,’’ Manas Panigrahi said.

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