International Epilepsy Day

International Epilepsy Day
International Epilepsy Day

Each year on the second Monday of February, people around the world join together in observation and highlighting the issues faced by people with epilepsy, their families, and cares. It is an opportunity for everyone associated with epilepsy at any level, to raise awareness about the disease – What it is?  How it can be treated?  And what is needed to bring treatment to all people who need it?

Epilepsy – It’s causes and symptoms

As a result of the sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain, which results in a temporary disturbance in the messaging system between the brain and the cells, people suffering from epilepsy experience recurrent seizures. Every function that we perform is triggered by the messaging system in our brain and epilepsy occurs when the messaging system gets disrupted or the electrical activity goes faulty. The exact causes of such pattern are however not clearly known but inherited genetic factors are considered as one of the major reason.

Some of the common facts about epilepsy are:-

  • It is a neurological disorder.
  • The range and severity of seizure vary from one individual to other.
  • The most common and primary symptom is a seizure.
  • Common treatments are prescribed anti-seizure medicines.
  • Diet can play a crucial and important role in the control and treatment of epilepsy.

Factors that may be responsible for the cause are:-

  • Some sort of trauma caused due to sudden incidences of accidents.
  • Stroke or tumors causing adverse brain conditions.
  • Brain damage or prenatal injuries before birth.
  • Developmental disorders like autism.
  • Infectious diseases like AIDS.

Diet and Epilepsy

A balanced diet with food from different group helps in proper brain functioning, provides essential nutrients and helps in keeping steady energy levels. Good and proper food with adequate sleep also helps the brain against risks of seizures. A diet makes one feel positive, have more control over life and thus over epilepsy.

One diet option that has worked in controlling the seizures in children with epilepsy is the Ketogenic Diet, where anti-epileptic drugs have failed. This diet has helped reduce the number and severity of such seizures and brings positive changes in the behavior of epileptic patients.

The Ketogenic Diet

This high fat, low carbohydrate, controlled protein diet has been used since 1920 for treating epilepsy. This diet is also considered as a medical treatment and has been used when two or more medicinal treatments have failed.

Now how it works? – The body uses glucose derived from carbohydrates (found in foods like bread, pasta, and sugar) for its energy needs. When the body uses fat for the enemy (in the absence of carbohydrates), the process is called as Ketosis, chemicals called ketones are made. The body uses these ketones instead of glucose for its energy needs and as a result of another chemical called decanoic acid is also produced as a result. These decanoic acids are responsible for the control of seizures.

In order to make sure that you have a balanced and nutritious diet to fight against epilepsy, it is very important to consult an expert dietician who understands that how much of which food is to be prescribed each day. It is also important to avoid certain foods while on a Ketogenic diet plan that an expert can guide.

The article is authored by famous Dietitian Sheela Seharawat. She is the founder and chief mentor of Diet Clinic Health Care Pvt. Ltd. Also, she is one of the youngest successful entrepreneurs of India.

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