However, it is not a mental disorder, but “neurological”, Dr. Siby Gopinath, Epileptologist and Professor of Neurology at Amrita Hospital, Kochi.
“Epilepsy, majorly characterized by recurrent seizures, is often a symptom of an underlying neurological issue. One such connection lies with brain tumors, abnormal growths of tissue in the brain,” added Dr. Aditya Gupta, Director – Cyberknife, Artemis Hospital, GurugramStudies indicate that individuals with brain tumors are more susceptible to epilepsy, and seizures can serve as an early warning sign of an undiagnosed tumor. The intricate relationship between these two conditions necessitates a comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment.
Other factors that contribute to the risk of epilepsy in younger age, including premature birth, low birth weight, low oxygen or blood glucose levels at birth, structural malformations in the brain etc.Additional risk factors involve infections like meningitis, cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities, autism, a family history of epilepsy.
Conditions like stroke and late-stage dementia can cause epilepsy in old age.”Epilepsy is one of the common neurological disorders, and in India itself, we have more than 1,00,00,000 patients affected with epilepsy. India faces a profound treatment gap, leaving 22 per cent untreated in urban areas and a staggering 90 per cent in rural regions. However, the gravity of the situation extends beyond numbers,” Gopinath said.
Management of epilepsy predominantly relies on anti-seizure medications, with positive responses observed in 70-75 per cent of patients. For some, cyberknife radiosurgery can also be an option. Gupta stressed the importance of raising awareness as the first step to effective management.
“Despite the evident links between epilepsy and other brain conditions, public awareness often remains limited. Advocacy and education are crucial to empower individuals with knowledge about these connections, enabling early detection and intervention. Community outreach programmes, informational campaigns, and collaboration between healthcare professionals and advocacy groups can play a pivotal role in disseminating this vital information,” he noted.