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International Purple Day; Epilepsy awareness

Today is International Purple Day. It is a day set aside globally to raise awareness about epilepsy and to eliminate common myths and fears related to the neurological disorder that is commonly referred to as epilepsy.

The day also focuses on removing the social stigmas associated with the condition and encouraging people living with it to speak up.

It is called Purple day based on the colour of Lavanda, which is a flower that is internationally recognized as a symbol of Epilepsy.

According to World Health Organization WHO, epilepsy is a chronic non-communicable disease of the brain. About 50 million people are estimated to be affected by this ailment around the world.

A medical Doctor, Joseph Elendu said whenever a person experiences repeated seizures within a year, epilepsy may be suspected.

He explained that epilepsy may occur as a result of a genetic disorder or an acquired brain injury caused by trauma, stroke, meningitis, low blood sugar levels or substance abuse.

“There are around 180,000 new cases of epilepsy each year. About 30% occur in children. Children and elderly adults are the ones most often affected.” He added

Dr. Elendu said epileptic patients experience uncontrollable body movements, Sudden stiffening and loosening of the muscles or limbs, inability to control eye movements, including rapid blinking, dizziness, unconsciousness and a state of confusion.

Also speaking, a neurologist, Dr Orji Akaji said constant epilepsy can lead to permanent disability, and urged patients to consult a health professional for diagnosis, treatment or management of the ailment, before it causes more damage to the body.

He said “A seizure can be extremely frightening. However, if you identify the trigger and treat the condition early on, you can prevent it from recurring and lead a healthy and safe life.”

Reporting by Ejiofo Umegbogu, Editing by Omotola Oguneye