National Epilepsy Day is celebrated to raise awareness about the abnormal brain disorder that can cause sudden seizures in the body. It is a type of brain disorder where a person can face sudden epileptic seizures where there is no control of the body movements sounds they are making or the sensations they are feeling. This brain disorder can be caused due to abnormal brain activity or temporary changes in the brain’s electrical functioning.
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the brain continuously keeps on generating tiny electrical particles in an orderly pattern that usually travels along the network of nerve cells in the brain. In epilepsy, these electrical rhythms become imbalanced, and the normal electrical pattern is disrupted by sudden bursts of electrical energy that may affect their consciousness, movements or sensations.
Epilepsy is of many types and the symptoms can vary from person to person. In some cases, a person can lose consciousness whereas, some may blankly stare for a few seconds. Some people may also twitch their arms or legs which they have no control over for a few minutes. Many famous personalities have battled with epilepsy from Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, Elton John, Neil Young, Martin Kemp, to Richard Burton.
National Epilepsy Day – Date
Every year National Epilepsy Day is celebrated on November 17 in India to raise awareness about epilepsy and its impact on people, families and society. The one suffering from epilepsy should be treated in a gentle way and carefully.
National Epilepsy Day – History and Significance
National Epilepsy Day was first celebrated by the Epilepsy Foundation of India which was established by Dr Nirmal Surya. The main aim of National Epilepsy Day is to help needy people who cannot afford to treat their diseases and also to busy the myths surrounding epilepsy, and to create awareness around symptoms and management of the disease.
According to WHO, around 50 million people worldwide are affected by epilepsy and India accounts for nearly 10-20 percent (5-10 million) of the global burden of epilepsy. About 70 per cent of the people can successfully able to manage their epilepsy seizures with medication and surgeries if needed.
Types of Epileptic Seizures
Seizures can be categorised into two broad categories depending on the abnormal activity of the brain. A seizure in one part of the brain is called a focal seizure and it is usually accompanied by loss of consciousness, while in the case of generalised seizures, all areas of the brain are involved.
This type of seizure usually alters emotions or sensations and leads to involuntary jerking or tingling in a body part, dizziness, or flashing lights. In some people, it can be seen that the affected person may stare into space and not respond normally or perform repetitive movements such as hand rubbing, chewing, swallowing, or walking in circles.
There are certain types of generalised seizures which are:
- Absence seizures are mainly caused by blankly staring at space and abnormal body movements such as eye blinking or lip-smacking.
- Atonic seizures are generally caused by loss of muscle control which may lead to sudden falls on the ground.
- Clonic seizures mainly cause repeated or rhythmic, jerking muscle movements of the neck, face, and arms.
- Myoclonic seizures are usually caused by sudden brief jerks of the body or twitches of arms and legs.
- Tonic-clonic seizures can cause an abrupt loss of consciousness, body stiffening, shaking, and sometimes loss of bladder control or biting of the tongue.