“Childhood epilepsy is common and is increasing. It is being detected more frequently with the advent of new investigations and technologies. Also, since the public awareness has increased, cases are being detected more easily. Another reason for the increase, apart from more detection, is that many children who suffered trauma during birth and would die during birth previously are now surviving due to better technology, but sometimes they are left with epilepsy,” said Dr Subhash Kaul, head of neurology department, Nizams Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS).
While delivery and birth-related problems are the common causes, experts stress on the need to improve perinatal care. “Delivery and birth-related problems include injuries during birth, less oxygen supply to the brain after birth, low blood sugar level after birth and overall perinatal care around delivery including feeding advice to mothers. Some of the cases, particularly around delivery period, are preventable and hence better perinatal care is required,” said Dr Konaki Ramesh, paediatric neurologist, Rainbow Hospitals.
Meanwhile, epilepsy is a chronic condition of the brain characterized by recurring seizures. “These are physical reactions to sudden, brief & excessive electrical discharges in brain cells and can occur anytime, anywhere. Even with increased awareness levels about the disease, patients continue to suffer discrimination and stigma,” said Dr Sindhu Vasireddy, neurologist, Aster Prime Hospital.
Apart from childhood epilepsy cases, other types of cases are increasing too. “These include epilepsy because of stroke and cardiovascular diseases, as we are seeing an increasing trend in the latter. Also, epilepsy cases due to head injuries have increased,” added Dr Kaul.