Updated: Apr 26, 2022
I was a couple of months old when I was detected with epilepsy and that’s when our love affair started! Now how can I even associate such a condition with love, is what you must already be thinking. Well, if u hate something, there’s a repulsion which could also mean denial. However, where there is love, acceptance comes naturally and that’s the first thing required to find a solution. Identify the problem, accept it and work towards a solution. That's been the story of our love affair - walking down the path of a cure. And being born to loving parents and married to a gem just makes my story much easier as compared to many others who face major challenges in dealing with their condition, physically as well as emotionally due to the stigma attached to it. To bring some comfort to them, being a little bit more aware of epilepsy becomes helpful.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a condition where individual encounters repeated, unprovoked seizures which are brought about by a sporadic, unexpected, and extreme electrical release from cells in the brain.
As per statistics of the World Health Organization, around 50 million people across the globe have epilepsy making it one of the most common neurological diseases globally. Nearly 80% of people with epilepsy live in low- and middle-income countries. It is estimated that up to 70% of people living with epilepsy could live seizure- free if properly diagnosed and treated.
Top 10 MYTHS relating to epilepsy
Myth # 1 – People with epilepsy cannot lead a normal life.
Fact -People with epilepsy are completely normal between the episodes. With proper treatment and medication, 70 per cent of the cases can be cured, and the patients can lead a normal life. Every day, people with epilepsy are taking up demanding jobs, playing sports, and raising kids.
Myth # 2 – Epilepsy is infectious.
Fact – Epilepsy is a neurological condition and doesn’t spread by coming into contact with somebody who has seizures.
Myth #3 – Epilepsy has no cure.
Fact – Medication, surgery, dietary as well as other treatments have helped in a reduction or elimination of seizures in many epileptic patients. With the correct treatment approach, most patients can lead full, productive lives.
Myth #4 – Epilepsy is genetic.
Fact – Anyone can be diagnosed to have epilepsy at some point in their life. While a few people are born with this disease, there are others who are diagnosed with it for no clear reason. Regardless of your age, sex, ethnicity, or financial background, epilepsy can happen unannounced.
Myth #5 – An epileptic patient can never get married nor have children.
Fact – With the consent of the two partners, it is possible for epileptic patients to marry and lead a healthy life. Additionally, with appropriate preconception guiding, it is possible for an epileptic lady to conceive and have children.
Myth #6 – During a seizure, epileptic patients in some cases swallow their tongue.
Fact – An individual having seizures may wind up biting his/her tongue, but it is difficult to swallow the tongue and choke.
Myth #7 – You should force something into the mouth of somebody having a seizure.
Fact – lease don’t place anything into an individual’s mouth if he/she is having a seizure as it could cause an injury. During most seizures, the individual is unconscious and incapable of dealing with foreign objects in his/her mouth.
Myth #8 – Epilepsy is brought about by “evil spirits” or “supernatural powers.
Fact - Epilepsy is a neurological condition. It is not caused due to some external forces. It should be treated by neurologists, epileptologists, doctors, and pediatricians.
Myth #9 -Epilepsy is synonymous with mental disease.
Fact – Epilepsy is a disorder, just like any other health problem. It should not be confused with mental illness.
Myth #10 – If you’ve had a seizure, you have epilepsy.
Fact – Not all seizures can be due to epilepsy. Seizures can occur due to different reasons like high temperature, binge drinking, head damage, etc. To be diagnosed as a case of epilepsy, the patient must have endured at least two unprovoked seizures.
FIRST AID - What to do if you see someone having a seizure?
- Do not panic. Most seizures are not an emergency
- Keep other people out of the way.
- Clear hard or sharp objects away from the person.
- Don't try to hold them down or stop the movements.
- Place them on their side, to help keep their airway clear.
- Look at your watch at the start of the seizure, to time its length.
- Don't put anything in their mouth as that could damage their teeth.
Finally, I would also like to appeal to my fellow persons with epilepsy. Do not weigh yourselves down with the condition. Challenges makes a person stronger, so it's a given that we are stronger individuals. What we need to do is work towards finding a solution for ourselves and help as many others in the same condition because nobody can understand them better than us!
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