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Epilepsy is a chronic brain disorder that manifests itself in people all over the world. For the disease characterized by recurrent seizures. These seizures manifest themselves as transient involuntary spasms in any part of the body (partial seizures) or throughout the body (generalized convulsions) and sometimes accompanied by loss of consciousness and loss of control over bowel and bladder functions.

These episodes are the result of excessive electrical discharges in a group of brain cells. Such discharges can occur in different brain regions. Seizures can take the form of a minor memory lapses or muscle spasms and severe, prolonged convulsions. Seizures can also vary in frequency, happening like at least once a year, and up to several times per day.

A single seizure does not say about epilepsy (globally 10% of people were in one seizure during their lifetime). Determination epilepsy applicable if two or more unprovoked seizures. Epilepsy is one of the oldest recognized states in the world, which preserved written evidence relating to 4000 BC For centuries, epilepsy was surrounded by fear, misunderstanding, discrimination and social stigmatization. In many countries, stigma, in some of its forms continues to this day and can affect the quality of life of people suffering from this disorder, as well as their families.

Signs and symptoms

Characteristic signs of attacks are variable and depend on the violation begins, and how far it spreads where in the brain. There may be temporary symptoms, such as, for example, loss of orientation and consciousness, as well as movement disorders, sensation (including vision, hearing and taste), mood or other cognitive functions.

People who have seizures, are more likely to have other physical problems (such as fractures and bruises associated with seizures). They are also characterized by increased rates of psychological conditions including anxiety disorders and depression. The risk of premature death among people with epilepsy are three times higher than among the general population, with the highest rates occur in low- and middle-income countries, as well as in rural areas than in urban. The causes of death associated with epilepsy in low- and middle-income countries, such as the fall, utopleneniya, burns and prolonged seizures, can be largely prevented.

The prevalence of the disease

Worldwide, about 50 million people suffer from epilepsy, one of the most common neurological diseases on a global scale. It is estimated that the proportion of the general population with active epilepsy (ie continuing seizures or the need for treatment) at this point in time is from 4 to 10 per 1,000 people. However, some studies in low- and middle-income countries suggest that this proportion is much higher - between 7 and 14 per 1000 people.

It is estimated that globally epilepsy is diagnosed in 2.4 million people annually. In high-income countries, the annual number of new cases of the disease at the population level is 30 to 50 per 100 000 people. In low- and middle-income countries, this figure could be twice as high.

This is likely due to the increased risk of disease endemic diseases such as malaria and neurocysticercosis; higher rates of road traffic injuries; birth trauma, as well as differences in medical infrastructure, the availability of prevention and affordable health care programs. Almost 80% of people with epilepsy live in low- and middle-income countries.



The most common type, characteristic of 6 out of 10 people suffering from this disorder is idiopathic epilepsy, which has no established reasons. In many cases, here there are genetic causes.

Epilepsy, the cause of which is known, is called secondary epilepsy, or symptomatic epilepsy. Causes of secondary (or symptomatic) epilepsy may be as follows:

brain damage in the prenatal or perinatal period (hypoxia or birth trauma, low birth weight);

congenital abnormalities or genetic condition in the presence of malformations of brain development, which are caused by these factors;

severe head injury;

stroke, in which the brain is not fed enough oxygen;

infection of the brain, such as meningitis, encephalitis, neurocysticercosis;

certain genetic syndromes;

brain tumor.


Treatment of epilepsy is a simple and affordable, and is based on a daily intake of low-cost drugs cost only $ 5 a year. Further, after 2-5 years of successful treatment of absence seizures and medication can be terminated in about 70% of children and 60% of adults with no subsequent recurrence.

In low- and middle-income countries for about three-quarters of people with epilepsy may not receive the treatment they need. This so-called "gap in treatment."

In many low- and middle-income countries access to AELS extremely limited. According to a recent survey, the availability of anti-epileptic drugs-generics in the public sector in low- and middle-income countries less than 50%. This may be an impediment to access to treatment.

To diagnose and treat epilepsy, most people with epilepsy can be at the level of primary health care without the use of sophisticated equipment.

WHO demonstration projects have shown that, thanks to special training providers of primary health care in the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy can be effectively reduce the gap in the treatment of epilepsy. However, the lack of trained health workers may be an obstacle to the treatment of people with epilepsy.


Idiopathic epilepsy is not preventable. However, preventive measures can be applied to the known causes of secondary epilepsy.

Preventing head injury is the most effective way to prevent post-traumatic epilepsy.

Adequate perinatal care can reduce the number of new cases of epilepsy caused by birth trauma.

The use of drugs and other methods to reduce body temperature in children with fever may reduce the likelihood of febrile seizures.

Central nervous system infections are a common cause of epilepsy in tropical areas, where many developing countries.

The destruction of parasites in these environments and education in relation to infection prevention are effective ways to reduce the burden of epilepsy around the world, such as epilepsy caused by neurocysticercosis.
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