About Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a disorder in the brain which makes a person prone to seizures.

There are various types of seizures which manifest differently. One can fall and jerk; others may only stare and fumble with the clothes and smack the lips. Epilepsy can effectively be controlled with Anti-Epileptic Drugs which need to be prescribed by a doctor. When taken appropriately under a doctor’s instructions, the drugs can make one seizure free sometimes permanently but do not achieve a cure as we know it in malaria or other conditions.

Treatment


Epilepsy is a condition that cannot be treated across the counter. A doctor must first make a diagnosis.

Once the doctor has diagnosed one with epilepsy, Anti-Epileptic Drugs (AEDs) will be administered. These are tablets that are taken daily as prescribed by the doctor. Seven out of ten people that take AEDs become seizure free; the other three may still experience seizures but with reduced frequency..

Typically, a doctor will not prescribe treatment after a single seizure; at least two seizures are considered necessary. When seizures are very rare, the doctor may deem treatment unnecessary and must weigh the effects of the seizures against the demands of the treatment (such as the costs and side-effects of the drugs)..

To stay healthy, one needs to continue the treatment until the doctor suggests a change. AEDs do not cure epilepsy but can control the seizures for as long as they are taken. If one stops treatment without the doctor's consent, the seizures may recur and may even be worse. Usually the consultation and the drugs in public hospitals in Kenya do not cost more than Ksh 300 per month (Ksh 100 for consult and Ksh 200 for the drugs).

10 rules for your treatment:

Inform your doctor if you still have seizures despite the intake of your drugs
Do not experiment with your drugs, your doctor needs to guide the changes
Tell your doctor if you have any doubts about your prescription
Don't stop drugs suddenly, even if you do not have seizures anymore, consult your doctor first!
Remember to take your drugs in time, ask your doctor what to do if you forget
Use a medicine box if you find it hard to remember taking medication.
Use a medicine box if you find it hard to remember taking medication.
Tell your doctor if side effects occur. Sometimes, changes can be made
Plan ahead so you do not run out of drugs, always take drugs with you
Diarrhea and vomiting may affect the absorption of medication. If you throw up shortly after taking the medication take another dose. Consult your doctor if vomiting continues.
If you are planning to get pregnant, discuss it with your doctor in case any changes on your treatment need to be made

Lifestyle


The degree to which people accept their epilepsy varies from person to person. Some people easily face it and learn to deal with it while others experience confusion. When the doctor informs you that you have epilepsy, a lot of questions go through your mind

Did (s) he say epilepsy or leprosy?
Am I going to die now?
What did I do wrong?
How can I get rid of this?
Why me and not someone else?
How can I hide this from others?

Understanding epilepsy is a critical step in the endeavor to acknowledge and accept the condition. For this, you need knowledge. The doctor will more often than not, givethe necessary information. This re-assurance will help you know that it’s nothing to be ashamed about and that you can live beyond the epilepsy. It is also advisable for you to participate in trainings on the condition, where you can share experiences and knowledge. This can be achieved at various epilepsy organizations that organize meetings for people with epilepsy. Once you have enough knowledge, you can understand how you can live an active life.


First Aid


TFirst aid during seizures usually depends on the type of seizure. With non-convulsive seizures, person administering the first aid needs to

Stay calm Remove any sharp or harmful objects or move the person away from danger
Support or place something soft beneath the head
Loosen any tight clothing at the neck
Roll the person onto their side (recovery position) when jerking stops
Stay with the person until fully recovered and oriented
Seek medical help if the seizure takes longer than 5 minutes

Know your Dont's

Do not restrain the person when they’re jerking, it can cause bruises
Do not put anything in the mouth, you cannot prevent the bite of the tongue
Do not give food or drinks before the person is fully recovered, they might choke on it

If the person experiencing the seizure is on a wheelchair or car seat, they can remain seated if secure and safely strapped in. As the seizure takes place it is important to support the head. When the jerking stops and they are still unconscious, they can be removed from the seat and rolled on their side for excess saliva to come out.