Unfriend your cell phone if you are an epileptic to reduce the number of seizures

Updated on:11 February 2020, 11:34am IST
Prolonged use of mobile phones or anxiety increases the risk of epileptic seizure, says study.
PTI
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Epilepsy can affect anyone and epileptic seizures can trigger anytime. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

Don’t take your epilepsy for granted. 

We have been warning you constantly and we weren’t wrong when we said that you should cut down on the time you spend on your cell phone. Turned out that in the longer-run it can have implications like seizures if you are suffering from epilepsy.

And if you are dealing with anxiety issues as well then that can also trigger seizures.  

On the occasion of International World Epilepsy Day, World Health Organisation (WHO) says that epilepsy is a chronic disorder characterised by recurrent seizures which may vary from a brief lapse of attention or muscle jerks to severe and prolonged convulsions.

Lack of awareness about mobile phone use or prolonged state of anxiety may aggravate seizures in a person with epilepsy, say experts as they pitch for a treatment regimen through the use of safer alternatives and improved understanding of the disease, especially among the caregivers.

Radiations can amp up the chances of seizures so use it but for shorter intervals
Speaking at the day-long event on ‘International Epilepsy Day’ held here on Monday, A K Sahani, senior consultant of Neurology at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC) said talking over mobile phones for a short time is not detrimental to the health of a person with epilepsy.

phone addiction can lead to loneliness
Do you know that smartphone addiction can also make you a loner? Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

He says that, “the person should avoid talking for a long duration over mobile as it has been seen that radiation has a role to play in increasing the risk of seizures.

“In such cases, it is better to use a hands-free device or the speaker of the phone. Contrary to the popular belief, a person with epilepsy can exercise in a gym – in fact, the benefits of exercise outweigh the risks.

Sahani added:

However, the person must avoid treadmills and should take frequent breaks and drink plenty of fluids. Those who are taking international travel should take measures to avoid jet lag, sleep deprivation, or anxiety of any sorts as they can trigger seizure with the change in time zone. 

Lack of awareness about epilepsy is making it even worse
Manjari Tripathi, Professor of Neurology at AIIMS, and Professor Satish Jain, Director of Indian Epilepsy Centre were the other key speakers.

Talking about the lesser-known aspects of the disease, Tripathi said not many are aware that epilepsy may cause death too.

Epilepsy patients may suffer from Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) and die due to seizure or respiratory failure – most of such patients are male and on medication to treat refractory epilepsy, i.e. epilepsy that does not respond to medicines.

Annually, SUDEP kills about 1 in 1,000 people with epilepsy, who are otherwise healthy, and is the leading cause of death in people with uncontrolled seizures, say experts.

“While prescribing medicines to women who have epilepsy, especially if she is pregnant or plans to become pregnant, doctors must opt for safer alternatives – certain kind of medicines for epilepsy has caused women to give birth to children who have intrauterine growth restriction and who may continue to grow as an adult with issues such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other neurological problems,” Tripathi said.

Check how addicted are you to your smartphone? Let this quiz answer that for you

Experts at the event also took note of the concerns of epilepsy patients, especially those who do not respond to treatment or have a special condition such as organ transplant or failure, dialysis among others.

A quiz and a ‘nukkad natak‘ were also organised during the event to dispel myths surrounding epilepsy.

So, if you or someone near you is suffering from epilepsy then spill the beans so that they can use this information to curtail the number of seizures and can lead a normal life.  

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