‘Create awareness on epilepsy to dispel misconception’

‘Create awareness on epilepsy to dispel misconception’

There is a need to create awareness about epilepsy in order to dispel misconceptions and stigma attached to it, neurologist Dr D Shivananda Pai stressed on Wednesday.

He said 10,000 patients in Dakshina Kannada are suffering from epilepsy and some are on proper medication. “It is estimated that there are about 2.73 million women with epilepsy in India and 52% of them are in the reproductive age group. Management of epilepsy in women requires not only knowledge of epilepsy, but also recognition of various roles and priorities women have in their lives. Attention to gender-specific issues and their impact on patients’ well-being throughout the life is also important,” said the neurologist.

“According to a study conducted by KMC, Mangaluru, in 2011, around 66.1% of epilepsy patients reported stigmatisation, which was measured by their preference for secrecy regarding the neurological disorder, feeling shame due to their condition, whether they attend social gatherings following their diagnosis or whether they experience avoidance or disrespect from peer groups or relatives,” said Dr Pai.

He said the study also highlights that the burden of epilepsy can be minimised by educating the public and spreading awareness on the condition. The educational status of the patient also improved their self-management practices, which included taking medication on time, periodically consulting a doctor, maintaining a record of seizure episodes etc, he explained.

Dr J Karankumar, associate medical director, Abbott Pharmaceutical Division in India, said epilepsy is a medical condition and, if managed properly, a patient can live normally.

“According to a study, 60% of the patients in the urban area and 10% of the patients in rural areas approach doctors. As a result, 80% of epilepsy patients do not receive treatment. Misconception about epilepsy hinders patients from either getting effective treatment or appropriate support from their families,” he pointed out.

Dr Pawan Raj, Fr Muller Medical College assistant professor of Neurology, said that there are around 3,500 children suffering from epilepsy in Dakshina Kannada. The children require support from the family and effective treatment can control seizures, he reminded.