ISLAMABAD-Prevalence of epilepsy in Pakistan is estimated to be 9.99 per 1,000 population while up to 70 per cent of people living with epilepsy could live seizure-free if properly diagnosed and treated, statement said on Monday.

Epilepsy is a mental disease marked by recurrent and unprovoked seizures. As proposed by the International League Against Epilepsy and the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) in 2005, epilepsy is defined as a brain disorder characterised by an enduring predisposition to generate epileptic seizures and by the neurobiological, cognitive, psychological, and social consequences of this condition.

According to World Health Organization, around 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, making it one of the most common neurological diseases globally. Shifa International Hospital vows to emphasise epilepsy awareness, prevalence, treatment and its prevention. Dr. Maimoona Siddiqui, HOD and Consultant Neurologist at Shifa International Hospital said that, traditionally, the diagnosis of epilepsy requires the occurrence of at least two unprovoked seizures.

The first seizure should not be treated unless there are any clinical findings explained on diagnostic tests including MRI, EEG or any abnormal focal neurological findings or in case of family history.

The lifetime likelihood of experiencing at least one epileptic seizure is about 9 per cent, and the lifetime likelihood of receiving a diagnosis of epilepsy is almost 3 per cent. According to a study, overall prevalence of epilepsy in Pakistan is estimated to be 9.99 per 1,000 population, which is more or less similar to global prevalence (5-10 cases per 1000). It is estimated that up to 70 per cent of people living with epilepsy could live seizure-free if properly diagnosed and treated.

As per the recommendations of Epilepsy Foundation, Dr. Maimoona advised about precautionary steps that should be taken to avoid epilepsy related accidents.

These include replacing glass with plastic, use caution with hot fluid, take shower instead of bath, install a rubber mat or non-skid strips on the tub or shower floor, pad hard edges of tables and furniture, cook with partner, and consider using a seizure alert monitor or sharing a room.

According to Dr. Azhar Saeed, Consultant Neurologist, although the mainstay of treatment for individuals with epilepsy is pharmacological, non-drug treatments such as psychological interventions, the KetogenicDiet and VagusNerve Stimulation are also used.