Lack of awareness about mobile phone use or prolonged state of anxiety may aggravate seizures in a person with epilepsy, say experts as they pitch for a treatment regimen through use of safer alternatives and improved understanding of the disease, especially among the caregivers.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), epilepsy is a chronic disorder characterised by recurrent seizures which may vary from a brief lapse of attention or muscle jerks, to severe and prolonged convulsions.
Speaking at the day-long event on 'International Epilepsy Day' held here on Monday, A K Sahani, senior consultant of Neurology at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC) said talking over mobile phones for a short time is not detrimental to the health of a person with epilepsy.
He, however, said the person should avoid talking for a long duration over mobile as it has been seen that radiations have a role to play in increasing the risk of seizures.
"In such cases, it is better to use a hands-free device or the speaker of the phone. Contrary to the popular belief, a person with epilepsy can exercise in a gym in fact, the benefits of exercise outweigh the risks.
"However, the person must avoid treadmills and should take frequent breaks and drink plenty of fluids. Those who are taking international travel should take measures to avoid jet lag, sleep deprivation, or anxiety of any sorts as they can trigger seizure with the change in time zone," Sahani said.
Manjari Tripathi, Professor of Neurology at AIIMS, and Professor Satish Jain, Director of Indian Epilepsy Centre were the other key speakers.
Talking about the lesser-known aspects of the disease, Tripathi said not many are aware that epilepsy may cause death too.
Epilepsy patients may suffer from Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) and die due to seizure or respiratory failure most of such patients are male and on medication to treat refractory epilepsy, i.e. epilepsy that does not respond to medicines.
Annually, SUDEP kills about 1 in 1,000 people with epilepsy, who are otherwise healthy, and is the leading cause of death in people with uncontrolled seizures, say experts.
"While prescribing medicines to women who have epilepsy, especially if she is pregnant or plans to become pregnant, doctors must opt for safer alternatives certain kind of medicines for epilepsy has caused women to give birth to children who have intrauterine growth restriction and who may continue to grow as an adult with issues such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other neurological problems," Tripathi said.
Experts at the event also took note of the concerns of epilepsy patients, especially those who do not respond to treatment or have a special condition such as organ transplant or failure, dialysis among others.
A quiz and a 'nukkad natak' were also organised during the event to dispel myths surrounding epilepsy.
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