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What is Epilepsia?

Epilepsy is a prolonged and continuous chronic disorder which is categorized by seizures. Seizures are nothing but electrical instabilities in the brain.  The persons suffering from epilepsy have more than one type of seizure whiich can lead to other types of neurological problems too.

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According to a World Health Organisation report, about 50 Million people suffer from the grave problem of epilepsy and about which 90 per cent of these people reside in developing countries. It is also debated that does epilepsy have a direct relationship with the nutrition intake of the person. As malnutrition is a key factor observed in the developing countries, epilepsy is also high.

Epilepsy is classified as:


  • Intrinsic Epilepsy – It is also referred to as primary or idiopathic epilepsy. It is independent epilepsy which is not acquired through a neurological disease. It just has a genetic cause
  • Acquired Epilepsy– It is also called the secondary epilepsy which is caused by a prenatal complication or a traumatic brain injury due to an accident, a stroke or a tumor or a cerebrovascular disease.
  • Generalized or mixed epilepsy – This involves electrical instabilities in many areas of the brain
  • Focal Epilepsy – This causes seizures due to the instability caused only in one part of the brain.

Epilepsy is a two way street. It is believed that epilepsy is caused by the presence of seizures in the body but if a person has seizures, it does not necessarily mean that he is suffering from epilepsy.


  • Confusion
  • Muscle jerks
  • Staring spells
  • Loss of awareness
  • Disturbances in mood  and mental functions

The level of seizures can classify the severity of epilepsy and can further lead to severe symptoms.

Diagnosis & tests

Electroencephalogram, commonly known as EEG is the first scan which can identify the abnormalities in the brain activities due to seizures. EEG also helps in ruling out narcolepsy which can be caused due to similar seizures. Other than EEG, PET, MRI and CT scans are also useful for observing the structure of the brain and to map the damaged areas of the brain.

Treatment & medication

Seizures cause convulsions. Thus, a doctor first prescribes anticonvulsant drugs which are the most essential for the treatment of Epilepsy.

It is a market research which is seen that about two-thirds of patients respond to any drug while the one – thirds of the patents is drug resistant.

Surgery is a viable option only where the seizures are caused by a focal point such as in focal epilepsy. As this is a controlled region and doctors can suspect the area which is exposed, the part of the brain can be removed. But it is a very careful procedure as vital functions such as speech, language or hearing can be disrupted due to an operation gone wrong.

A recent development in the treatment of Neurology is Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy for patients who can’t control the frequency of seizures through medicines. It is done by surgically implanting a battery operated neurostimulator which acts like a heart pacemaler to deliver electrical stimulation to the targeted areas of the brain.

Lifestyle Management

Epilepsy is a life changing disease where people can fall down, hit their head or even drown while swimming. It is a rare but possible condition when people with epilepsy can die in their sleep. This condition is called SUDEP (sudden unexplained death in epilepsy). Lastly, some people can commit suicide due to the mood swings.

But it is not the end of the World, epilepsy patients can still lead a normal and a happy life by educating themselves and the people around them.

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How important is it to get vaccinated?

Prevention is better than Cure!


Well sure, but in today’s times Vaccination is the key to prevention. It is an important step in protecting adults against deadly diseases. Some people believe that once they are vaccinated at a younger age, they do not need to be vaccinated again but that is a myth. The effect of the vaccine can wear off or the resistance is not that strong after a point of time.

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The common flu which has become very common in today’s times is at a greater risk if a person suffers from heart disease, lung disease or diabetes. As we are aware that Delhi has become the Diabetic capital of the World.

It is common to confuse flu with a bad cold. Flu and cold symptoms may include a runny/blocked nose, sore throat, and cough.

Below are some flu symptoms that are different from heavy cold symptoms:

  • High temperature
  • Cold sweats, shivers
  • Headache
  • Aching joints and limbs
  • Fatigue, feeling exhausted
  • Gastro-intestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea (much more common among children than adults)

Heart Disease

People with a history of heart disease or who have a stroke are at a serious risk of a medical complication such as worsening of their persistent heart disease. The risk of people with a heart disease is three times worse when they suffer from the flu virus.

It is however recommended by the CDC that persons suffering from a heart disease need to get a yearly influenza (flu) vaccine every single year. A pneumococcal vaccine is also recommended for the age below 65 years.

Lung Disease

Similarly, for persons suffering from asthma, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Bronchitis, etc. have a higher risk at stake when suffering from influenza (Flu) even if the flu is mild. Because of the lung disease, the airway of a person becomes very sensitive and even the most minor inflammation from the flu can cause adverse effects.

Those with asthma, COPD, or other conditions that affect the lungs are more likely to develop pneumonia and other respiratory diseases after getting sick with the flu than those without these conditions.

It is however recommended by the CDC that persons suffering from a lung disease such as asthma or COPD, needs to get a yearly influenza (flu) vaccine every single year. A pneumococcal vaccine is also recommended for the age below 65 years.


People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are prone to a high risk of hepatitis B. It can be infectious and can spread like wild fire on sharing of blood glucose meters, finger stick devices or insulin pens. This viral infection can weaken the immune system greatly which makes it very difficult to fight the flu.It can even lead to pneumonia and severe hospitalization.

Pneumococcal vaccine is recommended by the CDC for an adult below the age of 65 years along with a yearly influenza vaccine and a hepatitis B vaccine series for the age groups between 19 to 59 years. If you are 60 years or older, talk to your doctor to see if you should get hepatitis B vaccine.

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