Oman Health: Diagnosing and treating Epilepsy

26 Oct 2017
POSTED BY Y Magazine

Specialised epilepsy care at KIMS Oman Hospital.



Epilepsy is a neurological disorder and research indicates that at least one in every ten people experiences a minimum of one seizure during a lifetime. It is, however, important to note that a single seizure is not epilepsy, which is a condition more aptly defined by multiple seizures.

So how do seizures happen? Scientists suggest that nerve cells or neurons in the human brain communicate through electrical and chemical signals. A seizure usually results when there is a sudden extreme electrical discharge, disrupting the regular activity of nerve cells. While seizures may tend to cause a functional change, they may assume different forms, including a blank stare, muscle spasms, uncontrolled movements, altered awareness, odd sensations or a convulsion.

Epilepsy, the most common chronic neurological disorder, is a major public health problem in many countries. In the Middle East and Gulf region, epilepsy is known by the names such as Al Sara, Zaif, Abilipsya, etc. The prevalence of lifetime and active epilepsy in Arab countries is 7.5/1000 and 4.4/1000 respectively, and the incidence is 56/100,000.

The cause of epilepsy is at times genetic or acquired but mostly both genetic and acquired.  Thus, a correct diagnosis of epilepsy is of utmost importance as there are many conditions which may mimic a seizure disorder. The most important for diagnosis is clinical history from an eyewitness of the episode. Similar to ECG for heart-related problems, there is a painless, non-invasive test called electroencephalogram (EEG) that can detect abnormalities in the brain’s electrical activity.

Dr Santosh Kumar Balagopal, senior consultant neurologist (epileptologist) at KIMS Oman Hospital, says it is important for a patient suffering from epilepsy to establish a positive relationship with his or her doctor with whom they can share and discuss their condition openly. 

Dr Santosh had served earlier as a senior consultant at The Royal Hospital and Sohar Hospital, Ministry of Health, for several years. He specialised in Epilepsy and Stroke Medicine from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.  He also holds Specialty Certification in Neurology from the Royal College of Physicians (UK) and the British Association of Neurologists.

KIMS Oman Hospital has a well-equipped epilepsy clinic with the right choice of doctors who could help diagnose and manage epilepsy. With a correct diagnosis and  right choice of medications, people with epilepsy can now expect to be better integrated into home, working and community life, and ultimately lead   more independent  and more active lives than previously thought possible.


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