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Frequently Asked Questions On Epilepsy

DEFINITION:
  1. What is the difference between “Fits” and “Epilepsy”?
  2. Does a person who gets only a single fit have epilepsy?
INCIDENCE:
  1. How common is epilepsy in the general population?
TYPES & CAUSES:
  1. What are the different types of epilepsy?
  2. What are the common causes of epilepsy?
  3. What are the main features of different seizure types?
  4. What are Febrile convulsions?
  5. How common are Febrile convulsions?
  6. What is the outcome of children with febrile convulsion?
  7. Can new-born babies have seizures?
  8. What is the relation of mental retardation and epilepsy?
  9. Can mental stress cause epilepsy?
  10. How common is epilepsy after head trauma?
  11. Does excitement predispose to fits?
  12. Can some people bring on their fits?
DIAGNOSIS:
  1. What is the best way to diagnose epilepsy?
  2. How can you diagnose pseudo-seizures?

TREATMENT:

  1. To what extent can drug treatment help in patients with epilepsy?
  2. How long the treatment should be continued?
  3. What are the main principles of drug treatment for epilepsy?
  4. Why is it important to take anti-epileptic drugs regularly?
  5. What is the effect of anti-epileptic drugs on behaviour?
  6. Can epilepsy be cured?
  7. What is the risk of seizure recurrence after stopping anti-epileptic treatment?
  8. Should the anti-epileptic drug be discontinued during any other intercurrent illness?
  9. What should be done if the patient forgets to take a dose of anti-epileptic drugs?
  10. Can a person with epilepsy and on treatment with anti-epileptic drugs take alcoholic drinks?
  11. What should be done if some one gets an epileptic fit on the road side or any where else?
  12. How frequently should a person with epilepsy visit the treating doctor?
  13. What is the effect of fits on the memory?
  14. Can seizures cause brain damage?
INVESTIGATIONS:
  1. What is the role of different investigations like EEG, CT scan, and MRI scan in the diagnosis of epilepsy?
  2. Blood levels of anti-epileptic drugs are frequently prescribed by doctors. What is the role of getting blood levels done?
SCHOOLING:
  1. Is any special care needed for children with epilepsy while at school or play?
MARRIAGE & PREGNANCY:
  1. Can persons with epilepsy have a normal married life?
  2. What is the effect of epilepsy on pregnancy and pregnancy on epilepsy?
  3. Can mothers with epilepsy breast feed their babies while taking anti-epileptic drugs?
SPORTS & RECREATION:
  1. Can persons with epilepsy participate in sports and leisure activities?
EMPLOYMENT:
  1. Are persons with epilepsy employable?
DRIVING:
  1. Can persons with epilepsy drive?
PROGNOSIS AND FUTURE:
  1. What is the prognosis of epilepsy?
  2. Are their any voluntary bodies or associations for the help of persons with epilepsy in India?
  3. What is the future outlook for person with epilepsy?

Dos & DONTs

In case of a 'fit' or 'seizure' at home or at office:

Do The Following


» Allow the seizure to be completed. Turn the patient on to one side and ensure that he/she can breathe freely.
» Shift the patient away from any dangerous place/object and loosen all the tight clothing.
» The patient may be confused after the fit, and may need to the reassured with sympathy but without fuss.
» Help the patient so that he/she can continue his/her activity.
» Transfer the patient to a doctor/hospital if the patient gets recurrent fits, has injury or does not become conscious.

Don't Do The Following

» DO NOT attempt to force anything between the teeth, as a spoon or wooden piece can break the teeth while a cloth can cause choking. Even if the tongue gets bitten, it usually heals in the next few days.
» DO NOT attempt to stop the convulsive movements as it may result in injury to the person.
» DO NOT allow people to crowd around the convulsing person.
» DO NOT put a shoe, onion or any other thing in front of the patient’s nose.
The Brain

No Seizures & No Fits