November 17: National Epilepsy Day

Every year, the National Epilepsy Day is celebrated on November 17. The day is celebrated to create awareness about epilepsy.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a chronic brain disorder. It results in recurrent fits or seizures. The seizures occur due to sudden and excessive discharges occurring in brain cells or neurons. The disease can be diagnosed only after the person has had at least one seizure. Mostly epilepsy occurs in patients who are over the age of 65 and in children.

According to the World Health Organization, around 50 million people in the world are suffering from epilepsy. Out of them 80% are from developing countries. The disease is curable. However, most of the epileptic patients in developing countries do not receive proper treatment.

In India, more than 10 million are suffering from epilepsy. It affects both females and males of all races.

Epilepsy, a Public Health Imperative report by WHO

The report was released by World Health Organziation, International Bureau of Epilepsy and the International League Against Epilepsy in 2019. The Key Findings of the report are as follows

  • In low-income and middle-income countries, early death among people with epilepsy is higher than that of high-income countries
  • Around 75% of patients with epilepsy in low-income countries are at the risk of premature death. This is mainly due to lack of anti-seizure medicines.
  • The treatment gap of Epilepsy is extremely higher. Around 70% of people with epilepsy can be seizure free if they have proper access to the medicines. The medicine costs are very low and is of the range of 5 USD per year. The issue is that either the disease is not identified or the medicines are not reachable.
  • Half of the adults with epilepsy have anxiety and depression. These health conditions make epilepsy worser. The children affected by epilepsy experience difficulty in learning.

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