– Epilepsy, a chronic noncommunicable brain disease, affects people of all ages globally.
– Approximately 50 million individuals worldwide have epilepsy, with around 80% residing in low- and middle-income countries.
– Proper diagnosis and treatment could potentially render up to 70% of people with epilepsy seizure-free.
– The risk of premature death in those with epilepsy is up to three times higher than the general population.
– In low-income countries, three-quarters of individuals with epilepsy lack the necessary treatment.
– Stigma and discrimination persist for people with epilepsy and their families in many parts of the world.
Epilepsy is a chronic brain disease impacting approximately 50 million people globally, characterized by recurrent seizures with varying severity and frequency.
– Seizures result from excessive electrical discharges in different areas of the brain.
– One seizure doesn’t signify epilepsy; the condition is defined by two or more unprovoked seizures.
– Epilepsy has a long history, dating back to 4000 BCE, and continues to face societal stigma.
Signs and Symptoms:
– Seizure characteristics vary depending on the origin and spread within the brain.
– Temporary symptoms include loss of awareness, consciousness, and disturbances in movement, sensation, mood, or cognitive functions.
– People with epilepsy face increased physical problems and higher rates of psychological conditions.
– Epilepsy accounts for a significant global disease burden, affecting around 50 million people.
– The prevalence varies between high-income and low- to middle-income countries.
– Causes range from structural and genetic factors to infections, metabolic issues, immune-related factors, and unknown reasons.
– Seizures can be controlled, and up to 70% of individuals with epilepsy could become seizure-free with appropriate medication.
– The treatment gap is prominent in low-income countries, where availability of antiseizure medicines is often below 50%.
– Diagnosis and treatment at the primary health-care level, along with training health-care providers, can reduce the treatment gap.
– Surgery may be beneficial for those responding poorly to drug treatments.
– Approximately 25% of epilepsy cases are potentially preventable through measures like preventing head injuries, adequate perinatal care, and managing fever in children.
– Preventing epilepsy associated with stroke involves reducing cardiovascular risk factors.
Social and Economic Impact:
– Epilepsy accounts for over 0.5% of the global burden of disease, affecting economic productivity and health-care needs.
– Stigma and discrimination surrounding epilepsy create additional challenges for affected individuals and their families.
– People with epilepsy may face reduced access to education, occupational barriers, and discrimination based on misconceptions.
– Legislation based on human rights standards can prevent discrimination and improve access to health care.
– WHO and partners have produced global reports, action plans, and technical briefs to address epilepsy’s burden at various levels.
– The Global Campaign Against Epilepsy aims to raise awareness and improve care for those with epilepsy.
– WHO initiatives and campaigns have contributed to reducing the treatment gap and morbidity in several countries.