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Busting Myths About Epilepsy

Know about the different causes of seizures and epilepsy along with some other facts.

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According to the reports of WHO, epilespy affects around 50 million people across the globe and at least 1.2 percent that is 3.4 million people in the US. The majority or nearly 80 percent of the people suffering from epilepsy come under the middle class or lower class group.

Epilepsy is often characterised by seizures that affects the electrical activity in the brain as well as the way a body functions. But along with fear, societal stigmatisation and misinformation makes the life more difficult for the ones suffering from the condition.

Let's state the facts, instead of the misconceptions and myths, that have been in the air for far too long.

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Epilepsy is Contagious

This is the most common misconception and far away from the truth. No, epilepsy is not contagious and the cause for epilepsy has not been known yet. According to the WHO, there are around 50 percent of the epileptic cases whose causes are unknown. Few of the risk factors inlcude:

  • Stroke

  • Brain injury

  • Brain malformation

  • Brain damage during birth

  • Brain tumours

  • Brain infections

Seizures Means You Are Suffering From Epilepsy

Seizures are one of the main symptoms of epilepsy but that doesn't make it the only condition with seizure as a symptom. There are other conditions like brain injury, electrical shock, low blood sugar levels, low sodium levels that cause seizures.

Moreover, a single seizure doesn't mean you have epilepsy. According to the doctors of Mayo Clinic, two seizures within a period of 24 hours can be tested for epilepsy and other health conditions.

There is no Treatment For Epilepsy

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, there is no cure for epilepsy but the information that it has no treatment as well is a myth.

Though it is tough to manage the epileptic symptoms and the condition as a whole but early treatment can make a vast difference and help the patient live longer and have a more meaningful life. If not managed well, epilepsy and prolonged seizures can lead to sudden deaths.

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Epilepsy is Genetic

According to Epilepsy Foundation and doctors at Mayo Clinic, epilepsy can be genetic and inherited but all epilepsy cases are not a result of genetics or inheritance. The other causes of epilepsy include:

  • Head trauma due to an accident or injury

  • Brain abnormalities, tumours or strokes

  • Infections like HIV, Meningtis, viral infections, parasitic infections, etc

  • Developmental disorder or autism

  • Prenatal brain damage

Seizures are Painful

According to PubMed Central, seizures are not commonly painful and seizures hurting a person is a rare situation. People generally become unconscious during a seizure and that does not make them realise the pain if there's any. If they experience pain, it's mostly because of the side effects of seizure.

Epilepsy is a Mental Illness

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy is not a mental disorder since it has no psychological or cognitive problems. Though epilepsy can occur with other psychological problems that often confuse the people about the symptoms of epilepsy. Epilepsy can have cognitive or psychological troubles in the following conditions:

  • Too many seizures

  • Epilepsy at an early age

  • Brain Lesion

  • Poor seizure control

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Epilepsy 

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