Q.1. What is epilepy ?

Ans: Epilepsy is a neurological disorder ( and NOT a mental illness) due to sudden burst of abnormal electrical discharges from the brain .

Q.2. Why does it occur ?

Ans: In a great majority of patients one does not know the cause for this condition. The medical science is yet to find a cause to many common diseases like high BP, diabetes and so also epilepsy

Q.3. Why has epilepsy affected me only? Why am I so unfortunate?

Ans: Epilepsy is a fairly common condition affecting nearly 1% of the population which means in our country with one billion population there are atleast 10 million patients. The only problem is that no one wants to talk about their illness with the result every one thinks that he is the only unfortunate victim. A situation like heart attack is discussed freely even in cocktail parties while epilepsy is always concealed.

Q.4. What is the difference between convulsions, fits and epilepsy

Ans: Convulsions/fits are involuntary to and fro movements (tonic clonic) movements of limbs associated with loss of consciousness. Several situations can cause convulsions e.g. patients with kidney failure, liver failure, alcohol intoxication, brain haemorrhage - all these are not epilepsy. These are the manifestation of an underlying disorder. In epilepsy there is no such obvious illness and the person is active and normal in-between the attacks of epilepsy.

Q.5. Is it hereditary?

Ans: In a large majority of patients it is NOT hereditary. Only in certain types of epilepsies the ability to develop epilepsy is inherited to an extent of 2-4% ,which, means a great majority do not have hereditary factor. This is one of the greatest myths in epilepsy.

Q.6. Is epilepsy preventable ?

Ans: Yes some extent, though in a great majority the cause for epilepsy is not known certain conditions like head injury, stroke, brain infection / meningitis encephalitis which contribute to epilepsy are preventable.

Q.7. Is epilepsy common in certain group only?

Ans: Epilepsy is universal if affects all ages both sexes, developed and developing countries, rich or poor literate or illiterate

Q.8. What is the difference between seizure and epilepsy ?

Ans: All seizures are not epilepsy for eg. Seizures can be seen in a variety of disorders like low blood glucose, high fever, liver kidney failure, alcholic withdrawal etc. These are not epilepsy.

Q.9. Does seizures cause brain damage ?

Ans: Certainly not, it is the other way round that brain damage ( e.g. Head injury , brain fever or cerebral palsy ) can cause epilepsy.

Q.10. What is the relationship of epilepsy & sleep?

Ans: a) Sleep deprivation can precipitate seizures; b) Some seizures are more frequent during sleep state eg. Frontal lobe epilepsy, primary generalized epilepsy of genetic origin.

Q.11. Are there any specific epilepsy syndromes related to sleep?

Ans: Yes. Particularly in children benign epilepsy with rolandic spikes ( BRES) occur mainly during sleep.

Q.12. What are sleep myoclonic jerks?

Ans: As a person is falling asleep and in children during change of sleep phases a few jerks of the hand or legs occur irregularly . These are benign and not to be confused with myoclonic epilepsy.