Latest India News | Epilepsy Awareness: 15 lakh Indian women with epilepsy struggle due to treatment gap; At risk of potential infertility – News Healthcare

On International Epilepsy Day this Monday, experts drew attention to a concerning issue affecting nearly 1.5 million women of reproductive age in India: epilepsy. This neurological disorder, characterized by recurrent seizures, is a significant concern globally, with an estimated 50 million individuals affected worldwide. In India alone, 10-12 million people grapple with epilepsy, making it a critical public health issue.

One major challenge faced by women with epilepsy is the social stigma surrounding the condition, which often prevents them from seeking medical help. This reluctance, combined with concerns about reproductive health, underscores the need for tailored care and support for affected women. However, experts emphasize that with proper treatment, women with epilepsy can lead normal and healthy lives.

Dr. Siby Gopinath, an Epileptologist and Professor of Neurology at Amrita Hospital in Kochi, highlighted the significant treatment gap in managing epilepsy, particularly in low-resource settings like rural India. He emphasized the unique challenges faced by women of reproductive age, including the potential teratogenic effects of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) and increased infertility rates.

Understanding the various causes of epilepsy, such as structural brain changes and metabolic disturbances, is essential for effective management. Factors like neuroinfections, head trauma, and metabolic abnormalities significantly contribute to the burden of epilepsy, especially among women of reproductive age.

Possible Treatment

Treatment options range from medication to surgical interventions, brain-stimulating therapies, and dietary modifications like ketogenic diets. However, challenges such as drug resistance highlight the need for alternative therapies and personalized medicine approaches tailored to individual patients.

Tragically, individuals with epilepsy face an increased risk of premature death, with life expectancy reduced by 2-10 years on average. Causes of mortality include injuries, sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), status epilepticus, infections, drug toxicity, and suicide. This emphasizes the importance of comprehensive epilepsy care that goes beyond seizure control to address the various factors contributing to mortality.

International Epilepsy Day 2024

International Epilepsy Day, observed annually on February 12, aims to raise awareness and promote timely intervention for people living with epilepsy. By addressing the unique challenges faced by women of reproductive age and implementing tailored care strategies, we can work towards improving the quality of life for individuals affected by this condition in India and around the world.