Shaking uncontrollably, unable to control bodily movements, muscles twitching; these are very real and serious effects of the disease known as Epilepsy. Unfortunately, this disease is likely to be recurrent, and can cause confusion and loss of consciousness. Globally, Epilepsy is expected to plague more than 65 million people.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a chronic condition which causes unprovoked but recurrent seizures. Epilepsy is known as a common neurological disorder and affects people of all ages. Due to the nature of Epilepsy, and the unexpectedness nature of the disease, there could be serious complications when one suffers from an Epileptic attack. There is currently no cure for Epilepsy but the disease can be managed with both medication and other strategies (such as keeping healthy, which is a fairly common management philosophy for most incurable diseases).
There are two main types of seizures, namely Focal Seizures and Generalized Seizures. Under these two main types of seizures, there are sub types, which we will delve deeper into for later topics. Broadly speaking, the main symptoms include both uncontrollable movements and potential loss of consciousness.
Is Epilepsy transmissible?
Epilepsy is hypothesized to be caused by hereditary factors. It is believed that in a human body, as many as 500 genes relate to Epilepsy and inheriting a low seizure threshold might result in tendencies for seizures to happen. Epilepsy is not contagious in the traditional sense where you will get epilepsy from being near someone.
What causes Epilepsy?
Epilepsy has no known causes. There are however many triggers which are believed to be reasons for seizures to happen. Some causes include situations such as traumatic brain injury, stroke, lack of oxygen to the brain, genetic causes and even simple things such as lack of sleep. The range of triggers for Epilepsy is highly varied and given that it plagues close to 70 million people globally, it is hard to find a common underlying trigger which is constant amongst all sufferers.
How can we fight against Epilepsy?
There are a few ways for sufferers to fight against Epilepsy. These are the few methods for people to fight against Epilepsy:
- Anti-Epileptic drugs which can reduce the number of seizures a person has, or even eliminate them. Some medications include names such as Keppra, Lamictal, Topamax, Depakote, Tegretol, Zarontin. Different drugs treat different types of Epilepsy.
- Nerve stimulator, a medical device which is placed under the skin on the chest through surgery and electrically stimulates the nerves along the neck.
- Ketogenic diet, which is a way of regulating your body through food taken into the system, lowering the carbohydrate intake and increasing the fat intake.
- Brain surgery which includes removing the part in the brain which causes seizures. However, this method is same as cancer treatments, it is not really a cure.
We look at the current treatment methods available and feel that they are either too expensive, or too invasive, or a combination of both. Epilepsy, like other chronic diseases are truly dangerous but the treatment methods do not seem very thoughtful of the patients.
We envision and hope for a day where patients have more power in deciding their treatment and truly remove asymmetric information in the medical industry.