DOH: Epilepsy is not ‘demonic’

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013


EPILEPSY IS not demonic.

This is what the Department of Health (DOH) – Cordillera wants to inculcate into the public's mind because of the continuous prevalence of stigma against patients afflicted with epilepsy.

Epileptic patients usually suffer from the stigma which the society shows them with some people claiming the illness is a curse or a work of the devil. Some people also think of the illness as abnormal and disgraceful.

Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center neurologist Dr. Maria Socorro Sarfati explained epilepsy is a brain disorder which stem from congenital abnormalities, inherited from the family, past history of stroke and brain tumor, diabetes, seizures, excessive intake of liquor, and past head injury.

She added epilepsy is a brain disorder which causes recurrent seizures. Seizures, as a symptom of the condition called epilepsy, occur when there is a sudden electrical misfiring of neurons or nerve cells in the epileptic's brain. These misfires cause convulsions or spasms, confusion, staring and sometimes complete loss of consciousness.

She said there are several medicines which could treat the illness given the proper compliance and checkups.

Sarfati revealed among the survivors of epilepsy are Joan of Arc, Julius Ceasar, and Alexander the Great (III).

DOH officials urge the public to keep calm; don't hold the person down; time the seizure; clear the area of any sharp or hard items; loosen any clothing that might make breathing difficult; put something soft under his head; turn him gently onto one side to keep his airway clear; and stay with him until the seizure ends naturally.

They further said if the attack occurs a concerned citizen must help and guide the person instead of avoiding him.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 12, 2013.

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