National Epilepsy Day

National Epilepsy Day is celebrated by the Epilepsy Foundation, India. National Epilepsy Day is celebrated across India on November 17th, in order to make people aware of the disease Epilepsy. National Epilepsy Foundation is a charitable and non-profitable organization. The organization was established by Dr. Nirmal Surya in the year 2009. Epilepsy Foundation is dedicated to the well-being of the numerous people who suffer from epilepsy in India. The foundation was the dream of Dr. Nirmal Surya and it became possible to open the organization because of his determination, passion, and hard work to support the needy and less privileged patients in the city Mumbai, Maharashtra. Every year, the foundation celebrates National Epilepsy Day.

National Epilepsy Day 2019

The National Epilepsy Day 2019 of India was celebrated on Sunday, 17th November 2019. The day is observed to raise awareness about epilepsy. Epilepsy is a chronic disorder affecting the brain and causes sudden seizures and fits.

Seminars, debates, and stage events were organized to make the people more aware of the disease and its treatment methods. Several hospitals had also organized free treatment and consultation camps for the patients and their caretakers.

Members of public and non-government organizations reached out to the people in rural areas to spread awareness about the disease and its treatment.

The Epilepsy Foundation of India had organized a Special Awareness Programme on Sunday, November 17th at S.P. Jain Auditorium, in Bombay Hospital and Medical Research Centre, Mumbai.

The Union Cabinet Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Shri. Arvind Sawant was the Chief Guest. Several other dignitaries and medical professionals were also present.

The events at the venue included essay and drawing competition; activities at the epilepsy rehab center by patients; lunch; lecture on epilepsy, stigma, law, and future by Prof. M.M. Mehndiratta; lecture on holistic management of epilepsy by Dr. E.S. Krishnamoorthy, Neuropsychiatric, founder of Buddhi clinic, Chennai followed by music, dance, yoga, lucky draw and vote of thanks.

In 2018:

One month prior to the National Epilepsy Day, ‘World Congress on Epilepsy and Neuronal Synchronization’ was held from October 15-16, 2018 in London which presented the latest scientific improvements in the treatment of epilepsy. The theme for this year's meeting was ‘Inculcate the latent knowledge in Epilepsy and Neuronal Synchrony’. It aimed at the discussion of new findings and recent developments in the field of Epilepsy.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a global health problem. It is a varied set of persistent neurological disarray portrayed by the seizure. The disease is universal and needs utmost care if someone suffers from it. Reports say that approximately 50 million people across the world suffer from Epilepsy. Around 80% of the entire epilepsy counts occur in developing nations.

The seizures of Epilepsy are the result of unusual and extreme activity in the brain. It also results from the hypersynchronous neuronal brain activity. However, the cause of Epilepsy cannot be determined in most of the cases; aspects that can be identified are strokes, brain trauma, strokes, brain cancer, and/or excessive consumption or misuse of alcohol or drug by the person.

 

The study also says that the disease and its symptoms become more frequent when the age of individual progress. In some cases, Epileptic seizures may arise as a result of brain surgery in recovering patients. The inception of new Epileptic seizures occurs more in toddlers and elder people.

It is considered that the epileptic seizure cannot be cured but can only be controlled. Even though, nearly 30% of the reported people with epilepsy have failed seizure control despite undergoing the best treatments and consuming the best available medications. Surgery is only suggested in some of the most difficult cases. Epilepsy is often misunderstood as a single disorder; in fact, it is syndromic with greatly conflicting symptoms. All such symptoms involve periodic unusual electrical movement in the brain along with many seizures. It is also evident, not all epilepsy syndromes last lifelong; some types are restricted to specific stages of childhood itself.

Main causes of epilepsy are:

  • Irregular levels of substances such as blood sugar or sodium
  • Stroke or any other form of damage to the brain
  • Infections such as encephalitis or meningitis
  • Genetic conditions such as tuberous sclerosis that result in brain injury
  • Brain tumors
  • Head injuries occurred during birth or due to accidents during adulthood or youth
  • Low oxygen during birth

Though these are some of the common causes that may result in Epilepsy, however in almost 70% of all the reports of epilepsy in children, adults or elderly, no specific cause can ever get discovered.

Why Is National Epilepsy Day Celebrated?

The main purpose of celebrating National Epilepsy Day is to make people aware of Epilepsy. Different research centers and organizations are involved in finding and research for curing Epilepsy. The team at Epilepsy Foundation also makes regular attempts to make sure that the epilepsy patients participate in every walk of life. The people at the foundation work to change the perception of people about Epilepsy patients. The organization also endeavors that the society and community accept and value epilepsy patients with respect.

 

How to detect Epilepsy?

In order to diagnose epilepsy, it is important that epileptic seizures occur impulsively and suddenly. However, the syndromes of reflex epilepsy need specific triggers for arrests and seizures to happen. For instance, children suffering from epilepsy such as ‘childhood absence’ may be vulnerable to hyperventilation. People suffering from primary reading epilepsy may have arrests activated by reading. People who have photosensitive epilepsy may be limited to arrests and attacks activated by flashing lights.

It has also been noticed that hyperventilation and flashing lights are the activating processes often applied in the clinical EEG to help activate arrests in order to aid diagnosis.

It is to note that the cause, symptom, and effect of different epilepsy vary with different epilepsy syndrome. For example, the menstrual phase in a woman with epilepsy can manipulate the sequence of seizure reappearance. Seizures or attack connected with the menstrual cycle is termed as ‘Catmenial epilepsy’. Out of all the effects of Epilepsy feverish illness, heat stress, excessive sleep or sleep deprivation and emotional stress are some of the most common effects identified in patients with epilepsy.

One of the most serious issues is that approximately 180,000 new reports of epilepsy get reported every year from across the world. Elderly adults and children are the most common victims of Epilepsy. Out of 180,000 new cases each year, 30% of the number is contributed by the children and the number is increasing every day, which is highly dangerous.

How is Epilepsy Day celebrated by the Epilepsy Foundation?

The Epilepsy Foundation, India has taken several initiatives and steps for making people aware of Epilepsy, its symptoms, causes, and effects. Epilepsy Foundation celebrates National Epilepsy Day by organizing Free Epilepsy Detection and Treatment Camps in association with National Health Mission, Government of Maharashtra. The camps are also organized various other states such as Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh under the leadership and guidance of Dr. Surya’s leadership. Certain cases of Epilepsy had been reported at these places. Subsequently, patients were identified and treated free of charge.

Mumbai Marathon gets organized every year for commemorating National Epilepsy Day. Various other events such as Road Show, Christmas celebration, Talent hunt, cultural programs, music and dance competition, etc are organized in order to entertain patients suffering from Epilepsy and for increasing awareness about Epilepsy in common people.

National Epilepsy Celebration by the Epilepsy Care and Research Foundation in Rajasthan

The Epilepsy Care and Research Foundation at Ratan Nagar, Jaipur and other places of Rajasthan works for the wellbeing of Epilepsy patients in the rural areas of Rajasthan for the past 20 years. The team of doctors including Physicians, Psychiatrists, and Neurologists of the Centre holds free medical camps on the first Tuesday of each month in the Ratan Nagar area. Approximately 5500 patients suffering from Epilepsy from the entire country are registered with the free camps. Free check-up of the patients is been conducted and free medicines are distributed amongst the patients.

In order to increase awareness about the disease in rural areas, exhibitions on Epilepsy are held every 2 months. Different posters, Informative Banners, audiovisual aids are displayed in the exhibitions. The Epilepsy Foundation celebrated the 240th National Epilepsy Day on 11th November and held free camp at Ratan Nagar, Jaipur and various rural areas of Rajasthan.

A painting competition was organized for children suffering from Epilepsy and the best five were rewarded. A jog for “Fight against Epilepsy” was also flagged off by the S.P of Churu, Shri Rahul Kotki. The residents of the village were also visited by the team of doctors informing common people about the disease and educating them of the Dos and the Don’ts.

About International Epilepsy Day

The second Monday of February of each year is dedicated to International Epilepsy Day. People from different regions and backgrounds come together to observe the day. It’s a joint platform where people discuss and highlight the issues tackled by the people with epilepsy and their family members and caregivers. International Epilepsy Day is a joint and special event aimed to promote epilepsy awareness in approximately 120 countries every year. It is a joint initiative by IBE (The International Bureau for Epilepsy) and ILAE (The International League against Epilepsy).

Epilepsy International Day is for everyone irrespective of the location of the people and the size of the groups who want to join hands to fight against epilepsy. The day is celebrated for offering a common platform where people can share their views about epilepsy including the social or medical aspects of the disease.

Different competitions and cultural events are organized on the International Epilepsy Day to make people aware. Epilepsy patients and their family members and relatives are specifically invited to participate in the events and celebrations. An international art competition was organized in the year 2017 with the theme ‘Putting Epilepsy in the Picture’.

The Epilepsy Foundation also proudly joins the epilepsy community and would recognize the second Monday in the month of February 2018 as International Epilepsy Day.

Conclusion

Epilepsy, however, is one of the oldest identified medical situations in the world, yet people fear and misunderstand epilepsy. The persistence and misunderstanding of the people discourage them to talk or discuss the disease. Due to this reluctance, epilepsy patients are forced to live in the shadows. They often receive a discrimination in society and in the workplace.

For most of the people who live with epilepsy, misapprehension, and discrimination can create a bigger problem in treating the seizures as discrimination lowers down the self-esteem of the victims. Lack of funding and financial support discourages the new therapy research in the field of Epilepsy. By celebrating National and International Epilepsy Day, awareness can be raised and common people can be educated about the real facts of epilepsy. Timely detection and medication are very critical for improved treatment. The effect of the disease can be subdued with better care and social interaction if not completely cured.