Did you know…?
Epilepsy affects millions of people worldwide. Statistics show that one out of ten people will have at least one seizure in his or her life. Four out of 100 will ultimately develop full-blown epilepsy. According to the Epilepsy Foundation of America the causes of 70% of all cases of epilepsy are unknown.
It is more than just popping a pill that helps keep your seizures under control.
To keep your seizures under control, you cannot just pop a few pills in your mouth and think that that you’re cured. It’s more than just taking anti-conversant medicine that helps your medicine.
Staying healthy is important for people with epilepsy. Diet, physical fitness and sleep are all critical components in a healthy lifestyle. These are important factors in helping to control your epilepsy. Certainly the medication we take to control our seizures plays an important role in our lives, but if you do not live a happy, healthy, productive lifestyle by taking care of yourself, you could cause yourself to have seizures.
The first thing I did was change my eating habits. If I were going to lose weight and get back into shape, I needed to change the way I consumed food. Everybody’s metabolism is different, so you need to eat healthy foods that work best for you.
I began eating mostly proteins and eliminated fatty foods and cut down on the carbohydrates. You need some fats in your meal plan, but make sure they’re the right types of fats. Be careful with the fat-free foods they have on the market. They may have zero fat grams, but the amount of calories could be just as bad as a fatty food with many fat grams in it. To make the fat-free foods taste good they use a lot of sugar, which causes you to gain weight.
If you are at a weight that you’re content with, then you should continue to eat healthy to maintain that weight and to keep in shape. Everything you put in your body affects your epilepsy. You should try to stabilize the amount of calories you consume each day after you decide the amount of calories you want to eat.
Leading an active life is good medicine for most people with epilepsy. If you find that getting overheated or physically tired triggers seizures, then you may want to avoid exercising when it’s very hot. Take breaks when you feel you need them.
Drinking water is an important step to eating healthy. The human body contains fifty to 70% water. Because water does not remain stored in the body, we must replace it continually. Water contains no fat grams or calories and is one of the healthiest fluids to drink. Adults must consume two to three liters of some form of liquid each day. When you exercise drink plenty of water because you can easily become dehydrates. And consuming plenty of water can help you lose weight. Remember, a healthy body can help your epilepsy not hurt it. The times when I experienced the most seizures were when my body was feeling under the weather or if I was sick.
The road to better health: eating right and feeling great
I have had epilepsy for over 30 years and I have always kept detailed daily journals to try to see when my seizures were occuring the most frequently. I would look to see what I ate and the activities I endured during that day. I noticed when I consumed too many sweets or foods with high sodium content my seizures would occur on those days. When your body retains water and bloats, it’s not just affecting your body. It is affecting your brain too. When you retain water, the water builds up in your head causing pressure on the brain, which can seizures.
In order to obtain a well-balanced diet you should have at least one food from each group in each meal every day.
· The bread-cereal group
· The milk group includes milk and milk products.
· The meat and meat substitutes group includes beef; veal; lamb; pork; organ meats such as liver, heart, and kidney; poultry and eggs; fish and shellfish; and dried peas, beans, and nuts.
· Other foods Fats, oils, and sugars are added to other foods during preparation of the meal or at the table. These foods supply calories and can add to total nutrients in meals.
Epilepsy isn’t the kind of condition that can be treated with large doses of vitamins or mineral supplements. In fact, large quantities of either could be bad for your health. Check with your doctor before taking more vitamins than are in typical one-a-day multivitamins.
Physical Exercise and Training
Physical exercise is important for people who have epilepsy. Exercise helps strengthen the body, decrease stress and helps fight and overcome depression. These are all important factors because:
1. When you are healthy and not under the weather the chances of having a seizure are less.
2. Stress can cause seizures.
3. Depression is something many people with epilepsy incur because it is a disorder we are unable to control and it put many limitations and restrictions in our lives of what we can and should not do in order to live productively.
Many people with epilepsy avoid exercise because they are afraid they will have a seizure during the exercise activity. Then again, it is extremely rare for a person to have a seizure while exercising. Bet you didn’t know that! Rather than triggering seizures, physical activity can actually reduce the risk. Research has found that most people with epilepsy experience improved during and after exercise. The reasons for this are unknown, but theories include:
· The heavy breathing associated with exercise stops the build-up of carbon dioxide in the blood.
· Stress is a known seizure trigger, and regular exercise is a highly recommended way to manage stress.
· The release of ‘feel good’ brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) during exercise may calm the brain.
· The degree of concentration needed during sport may focus the brain so that seizures are less likely.
· The benefits of regular exercise, such as improved fitness, health and happiness, may contribute to having fewer seizures.
Exercise safety suggestions
· Before starting any new exercise program, consult with your doctor or specialist. A trainer is always helpful to have to help you create a program that’s right for your body. A trainer will also make sure you are doing the exercises correctly, so you receive the maximum benefits and so you don’t hurt yourself by doing the exercises incorrectly.
· Avoid known seizure triggers.
· Always take your medication as prescribed.
· Keep an adequate supply of medication on you at all times.
· Make sure your sporting companions are aware of your condition, and know what to do if you have a seizure.
· Wear protective gear appropriate to your sport, such as helmet or knee pads.
· Let family/friends know your walking/jogging/exercise route before you leave and how long you will be out
Water safety is particularly crucial, because a person who experiences a seizure while alone in water will almost certainly drown. Suggestions include:
· Be alert to hidden dangers. Did you know, you are more likely to
drown in the bath than in the sea?
· Swim with companions who know you have epilepsy, and who are physically strong enough and know what to do if you have a seizure.
· Swim in supervised areas, such as in a public pool with an attendant, trainer, or at the beach between the flags where lifeguards are on patrol.
· Tell the pool attendant, trainer or lifeguard that you have epilepsy. You may need to brief them on how best to help you, if they don’t already know.
Exercise-related epilepsy triggers
It is important to exercise wisely. You could trigger a seizure minutes or hours after exercise if you strain your body. Make sure you are not suffering from these factors before exercising:
· Extreme fatigue
· Lack of sleep
· Electrolyte loss (due to severe dehydration)
· Hyperthermia (elevated body temperature)
· Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels).
Medical Studies show…
· In a study that was performed it showed that those who exercise at least three times a week for a minimum of twenty minutes reported fewer problems with seizures, depression and stress.
· In this study, fifteen Norwegian women with drug-resistant epilepsy spent fifteen weeks taking exercise classes twice a week for an hour. They combined aerobic dancing with strength training and stretching. The median number of seizures decreased from 2.9 to 1.7 during the experimental exercise phase. The women also had fewer health complaints, such as muscle pains, sleep problems and fatigue.
Types of vitamins that maybe helpful for people with epilepsy:
· Vitamin A
· Vitamin D
· Vitamin K
· B complex of vitamins.
· Vitamin C
When I started using vitamins and detox body cleanses I noticed that my seizures slowing started to decrease. There’s no medical evidence linking the vitamins and detoxifying as the success to my improvement with seizures, but I believe that eating right, exercising, taking vitamins and detoxifying my body plays a major role my success to becoming seizure free.
Hero’s with epilepsy
Epilepsy does not stop you from being athletic and keeping your body in shape. Some of the greatest athletes had epilepsy.
· French cyclist Marion Clignet won a silver medal in the 1996 Olympics.
· Hal Lanier, a former shortstop with the San Francisco Giants;
· Greg Walker, a former first baseman with the Chicago White Sox
· Buddy Bell, who played seventeen seasons of professional baseball before retiring in 1988, all reportedly had epilepsy
· Basketball player Bobby Jones, who played for the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia ‘76ers.
Let’s not forget sleep
A series of late nights or lack of sleep can greatly raise the risk of seizures. People with epilepsy should not feel they need an excessive amount of sleep. If you feel tired and sleepy all the time, chances are your medicine needs adjustment in some way, or you may be depressed. Perhaps your dose is too high, or you are taking it at the wrong time of day. Don’t make changes yourself, though. Tell your doctor about it.
Epilepsy does not stop you from living a healthy, happy, productive life. You can accomplish all your dreams. You just need to believe in yourself and most of all take care of yourself because how we take care of yourself affects you mentally, physically and emotionally.