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Living With Epilepsy

Nov 01, 2023
Living With Epilepsy
Living with epilepsy can sometimes seem like walking on eggshells. You may be afraid to live as active a life as you want because you never know when a seizure will hit. But with help, you can live life fully.

In the United States, about 3 million adults have epilepsy. Epilepsy is a neurological condition that causes seizures, which sometimes includes loss of consciousness. It’s the fourth most common neurological disorder in the world. 

When you have epilepsy, it’s impossible to predict when the next seizure will occur. This complicates every aspect of life. Living a full and active life with epilepsy requires planning, but it’s possible with help.

At Advanced Medical Care in Brooklyn and Queens, New York, our experienced doctors diagnose and treat epilepsy. Here’s how to navigate the extra challenges of having epilepsy in an overcomplicated world. 

Identify your seizure triggers

There’s no single cause for epilepsy. Nor is there a single cause for what brings on a seizure. Keeping a seizure diary helps you narrow down the factors that are most likely to trigger your seizures. Note each seizure you have as well as the circumstances surrounding it, such as: 

  • Flashing lights
  • Certain noises
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Excess caffeine
  • Certain foods
  • Menstruation
  • Stress
  • Low blood sugar
  • Not eating well
  • Not staying hydrated
  • Lack of sleep
  • Illness
  • Missed medication

You may also note if seizures tend to happen around the same time of day. Certain stimuli or circumstances may bring on a seizure at some times, but not others. One factor could act in combination with another to cause a seizure.

When you bring your seizure diary to your neurologist at Advanced Medical Care, we help you devise a plan to avoid triggers whenever possible and to keep your seizures to a minimum.

Minimize stress

Everyone complains about stress these days, but when you have epilepsy, you may need to devote more time to stress management than someone who doesn’t live with the disorder. Take steps to:

  • Establish good sleep habits
  • Limit or avoid alcohol
  • Eat healthy food at regular intervals
  • Stay hydrated with water and healthy beverages
  • Don’t smoke
  • Practice meditation, mindfulness, or prayer
  • Use deep breathing to stay calm
  • Talk to friends, family, or a counselor when stressed

Pay attention to how you feel throughout the day. If you notice your stress levels building, take a minute to step away and practice the self-care you need to calm down and feel more in control again.

Adopt healthy habits

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that women and men with active epilepsy are more likely than people without epilepsy to have an unhealthy lifestyle. Poor choices include:

  • Drinking excess alcohol
  • Sleeping less than needed
  • Living a sedentary life

Recognize that whatever you eat or drink feeds every cell in your body, including those in your brain. If you have epilepsy, it’s more important than ever to avoid processed foods, junk foods, and sugar and concentrate on nutrient-dense dietary choices that keep your brain strong.

Emphasize fresh vegetables, fruits, and high-quality protein and fat sources. Talk to us about whether you should consider adopting a ketogenic diet, which cuts out most carbohydrates in favor of high-quality fats and proteins. 

Ensure you have access to seizure first aid

Myths about epilepsy abound, which can affect the way that others respond to your seizures. Ask friends and family to get certified in seizure first aid so they know what to do. Be sure your school or workplace has a health professional who’s certified in seizure first aid.

Get the help you need

If you have epilepsy with frequent seizures, you may not be able to drive safely. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family members to help. Use delivery services for groceries and other necessities.

If you have infrequent seizures, you may be able to apply for a driver’s license. Be sure to investigate your local laws, however, and inform the examiner that you have a seizure disorder.

You might need special accommodations at school or work. You may also require extra help to handle the legal and financial issues that come with having an incurable, chronic disease. 

A seizure dog can alert you, and others, as a seizure begins. Seizure rescue medication can help prevent a seizure in a high-risk situation or minimize the severity of one that’s in progress.

In addition, you could benefit from participating in a clinical trial. Clinical trials allow you to try new medications before they’re officially released that may stop or minimize seizures.

Living with epilepsy can be challenging, but you can thrive with the right team in your corner. To get help with your epilepsy so you can live a full, rich life, contact Advanced Medical Care today.

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