Last September 1-6, 2014, the Philippine League Against Epilepsy (PLAE) celebrated the National Epilepsy Awareness Week with the theme: “EPILEPSY: TIGIL ATAKE… TULAY SA TAGUMPAY.”
On the first day of the long week celebration, the top neurologists of the country held the forum on TRIPARTITE SYMPOSIUM FOR NEUROLOGISTS: MARIJUANA IN EPILEPSY to discuss the emerging issues on medical marijuana and to come out with a consensus on its role in the management of epilepsy in the Philippines.
The following day, September 2, the Epilepsy Exemplar Awards was held at the Crowne Plaza. The awards night aims to recognize people with epilepsy who have gone beyond their disease and have excelled in either their profession or in school.
The highlight of this week’s activities is the National Epilepsy Week Camp that was held at the Queen Margarette Hotel in Lucena City, Quezon. It was a whole-day affair where delegates were given lectures on epilepsy. There were also small group discussions that gave patients a venue to clarify issues that confront them in dealing with the disease.
Apart from the above activities, members of PLAE held nationwide simultaneous round table discussions, lay fora, and school caravans in their area of practice during the duration of the epilepsy week.
It is the hope of this campaign to spread awareness about the condition called epilepsy, to prevent it or its related incidents, to dispel myths about it, and to give sufferers a better quality of life. And this blog is part of the information campaign. I strongly support this endeavor to create awareness among Filipinos about epilepsy.
National Epilepsy Awareness Week was made possible with the help of Medichem Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Unilab Foundation.
IMPACT OF EPILEPSY
Epilepsy is present in around 1% of the global population. This may be higher in developing countries.
In a country such as the Philippines with a population of 93 million, this means that an estimated 930,000 people suffer from epilepsy.
Local prevalence study: 230 persons with epilepsy / 100,000 population.
Epilepsy strikes most often among the very young and the very old, although anyone can get it at any age.
The mortality rate among people with epilepsy is two to three times higher than the general population and the risk of sudden death is 24 times greater.
People with epilepsy can die of seizures and related-causes, including status epilepticus (non-stop seizures), sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), drowning and other accidents.
Twenty to thirty percent of people with epilepsy are severely affected and continue to have seizures despite treatment.
Of major chronic medical conditions, epilepsy is among the least understood even though one in three adults know someone with the disorder.
Lack of knowledge about proper seizure first aid exposes affected individuals to injury from unnecessary restraint and from objects needlessly forced into the mouth.
The leading non-medical problem confronting people with epilepsy is discrimination in education, employment and social acceptance.
The association between epilepsy and depression is especially strong. More than one of every three persons with epilepsy are also affected by the mood disorder, and people with a history of depression have a 3 to 7 times higher risk of developing epilepsy.
From studies abroad, depression is reported by 24-74% of patients with epilepsy; anxiety in 10-25%.
Around 64% of people with epilepsy in the Philippines suffer from anxiety and 51% from depression.
Living with epilepsy presents challenges affecting many aspects of life, including relationships with family and friends, school, employment and leisure activities.