Epilepsy affects around 1% of the world wide population with no distinction to race, social background, age etc. Epilepsy is a chronic disorder that causes unprovoked, recurrent seizures and can affect any person and at any age. A seizure is a sudden rush of electrical activity in the brain. There are around forty different types of seizures which are usually mainly classified in two main types: Generalized seizures which affect the whole brain such and Focal, or partial seizures, affect just one part of the brain.
With the correct type of medications and dosages, around 75% of persons with epilepsy can become seizure-free, and this is also the situation in Malta. However, 25% of persons with epilepsy remain refractory and still have seizures, despite trying all medications.
Epilepsy affects almost every aspect in the life of the person diagnosed with the disease. For many people with epilepsy, the stigma attached to the disease is more difficult to deal with than the disease itself. Ignorance breeds fear and it is very important that people are made aware that persons with epilepsy are normal people with the same abilities and intelligence as anybody else.
The Caritas Malta Epilepsy Association is a member of the International Bureau for Epilepsy International which, together with the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) organises International Epilepsy Day as a joint initiative. This year it is being held on 12 February 2018. It is a special event which promotes awareness of epilepsy in more than 120 countries each year were people join together to celebrate and highlight the problems faced by people with epilepsy, their families and carers.
The Caritas Malta Epilepsy Association was set up in 1996 and now has over 300 members and is organising a National Conference on Epilepsy on 10 March 2018.