Too much texting and exposure to computer screens – electronic stress – can set off an epileptic attack.
Factors like emotional stress, skipping meals, sleep deprivation, fatigue, smoking, alcohol consumption, etc. can also trigger seizures in persons with epilepsy. The moon cycle variation which is considered a reason for seizures is a prevalent myth.
To dispel the common belief about perceived trigger factors, researchers from department of neurology and college of nursing at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) conducted a study among its patients.
The study that was published in the Journal Seizure in November last year was conducted among 405 persons with epilepsy between 2010 and 2011.
“The data that we managed to collect through this study empowers patients to assess the cause of getting seizures. The idea is to observe the trigger factors and avoid them as far as possible so that there is seizure control eventually and a better quality of life in the long run,” said Dr Manjari Tripathi professor department of neurology.
Dr Tripathi along with Meena Aggarwal-lecturer retired College of Nursing and three others from AIIMS conducted the study.
Out of those spoken to, 86.9% people had at least one trigger factor and each patient could identify anywhere between a minimum of one and a maximum of 10 trigger factors.
AIIMS runs an epilepsy clinic that is visited by 100 to 150 persons daily.
“Creating awareness is a must. we need to spread the message that a few minutes of unconsciousness does not mean the person has a problem for the rest of the hours. Having a fit is more like a headache that leaves a person out of action temporarily,” says Dr Tripathi.
One per cent of the country’s population has epilepsy and at any given time more than 10 million persons suffer from the condition. The risk of developing epilepsy over one’s life time is 1.4 per cent to 3.3 per cent.
According to experts, there is limited data available on the triggering factors for epilepsy, and just about 1% of the 30, 000 epilepsy-related articles refer to this issue. First to identify and then to avoid trigger factors, along with taking appropriate treatment may prove beneficial.
“The major challenge, however, lies to bridge the enormous treatment gap,” said Dr Tripathi.
March 26 is purple day for epilepsy. It is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide.
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