News ID: 175847
Published: 0333 GMT January 16, 2017

Steps to rein in epilepsy in Iran

Steps to rein in epilepsy in Iran

By Sadeq Dehqan & Katayoon Dashti

The head of Iranian Epilepsy Association has announced national plan to conduct a census on people suffering from epilepsy adding that once this is complete, the latest figures on epilepsy patients will be available within the next six months.

Hossein Pakdaman told Iran Daily that epilepsy is an ailment which can be brought under control. He noted that between 0.2 and 1.8 percent of the country’s population complain of the disorder.

He put the estimated current figure of the number of epileptic patients at 700,000 and said that the number of epileptic patients in Iran is higher than the global average.

Epilepsy is considered a common disease worldwide. It is estimated that 50-70 million people suffer from epilepsy across the world.

He listed road mishaps as one of the factors responsible for the high prevalence of epilepsy in Iran.

People who have a concussion ― one type of traumatic brain injury ― due to road accidents, double their risk of developing epilepsy, he added.

He cited the Iraqi-imposed war (1980-88) in which many Iranians suffered physical/mental injuries, as one of the reasons for the prevalence of epilepsy in the country.

Fortunately, over 66 percent of epileptic patients can be treated with medicine, he said, adding the remaining 33 percent have become resistant to the disease and the medicines.

He said surgery can be an option for resistant to epilepsy.

Pointing to the side effects of epilepsy, he said depression, anxiety and mood disorders are more common in epileptic patients. Their life standard is lower and there are more cases of suicide among them, he added.

On the high costs of treating and looking after epileptic patients, he pointed out that $15.5 billion is spent annually for treatment and research on epilepsy in the US.

While epilepsy is still considered a social stigma, he added that some epileptic patients feel guilty about their disease and try to conceal it from others.

He continued that epileptic patients can marry and have children under certain conditions under the supervision of a physician.

No body has the right to fire epileptic patients, he added.

Ordinary epileptic seizures last only one or two minutes. However, epilepsy convulsion continues for more than 15 minutes, he said, adding these epileptic patients suffer from Status Epilepticus (SE).

SE is an epileptic seizure of greater than five minutes or more than one seizure within a five-minute period without the person returning to normal between them, he said.

SE is a dangerous condition, he added.

Pakdaman said the 13th International Congress of Epilepsy is to be held at Imam Khomeini Hospital in Tehran from January 25 to 27.

The main focus of the congress will be on SE, he added.

Specialists and guests from the US, Austria, France and India will take part at the three-day event, he concluded.

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