What are Seizures?
A seizure can be categorized as a medical condition where an individual experiences a sudden involuntary electrical activity & disturbance in the brain. It can lead to changes in behavior, feelings, levels of consciousness, and many more things.
Before understanding how to prevent seizures one must understand all the basic types of seizure disorders as the method for prevention may differ from disorder to disorder.
Types of Seizures
There are two broad categories of types of seizures “Generalized Seizures” & “Focal Seizures.” These seizures happen when the brain’s electrical signals and impulses act abnormally.
1. Generalized Seizures
The seizures which affect all areas of the brain (left and right sides of the brain) can be categorized as generalized seizures. There are different types of generalized seizures that one might experience some of them are:
i. Absence of Seizures
This disorder is more common in children compared to adults. Most adults tend to outgrow this disorder. Anyone having this seizure can become temporarily unconscious and it may seem like they are blankly staring into space usually for a few seconds until they return to their normal consciousness.
Some other symptoms of this seizure disorder include lip smacking, eyelid fluttering, etc. They usually last a few seconds but can occur up to 100 times a day.
ii. Tonic Seizures
Tonic seizures involve loss of consciousness and involuntary muscle contractions. It is a very rare seizure primarily caused by epilepsy but has other triggers, such as high fever, and low blood pressure.
This seizure occurs in two stages:
- Losing consciousness – A person having a Tonic seizure usually loses his/her consciousness, lasting for about 10-20 seconds.
- Muscle Convulsions – The stage of unconsciousness is followed by muscle convulsions which cause sudden tension or stiffness in arms, legs, etc.
iii. Tonic-Clonic Seizures
Previously known as grand mal seizures, These seizures are probably one of the most dangerous types of seizures.
This seizure can make the person:
- Lose consciousness
- Body stiffening & shaking
Seizures may lead to loss of bladder control or reflexive biting of the tongue. They usually last for several minutes. Majority of the people only experience this seizure in their lifetime once but other might require anti-seizure medications to prevent recurrences of the seizure.
Atonic seizures are also known as “drop seizures” because it causes the loss of muscle control which leads to the person collapsing on the spot.
iv. Myoclonic Seizures
This seizure leads to sudden twitches and jerks and primarily affects the neck, face, arms etc. In the majority of cases, there is no loss of consciousness in this kind of seizure.
2. Focal Seizures
Contrary to Generalized seizures, Focal seizures only affect one area of the brain. They are also known as partial seizures. These seizures have three categories which are:
i. Simple Focal Seizures
These seizures are known to affect a small part of the brain which causes twitching or change in sensation such as strange smells and tastes. Most seizures last as long as a few minutes.
ii. Complex Focal Seizures
This can make the person confused and clueless, for some minutes the person will not be able to respond to questions.
ii. Secondarily Generalized Seizures
This is a seizure that originates from one part of the brain but spreads to both sides of the brain (left & right side of the brain). In simple words, this seizure progresses from a focal seizure to a generalized seizure where the impulses and disturbances increase from one part of the brain to another.
Treatment Options to Control or Stop Having Seizures
1. Anticonvulsant or Anti-Epiliptic Drugs
Seizure medication is a pretty common technique that helps stop or reduce medical conditions related to seizures. But, one essential thing to be kept in mind is to only consume prescribed medication and not take any kind of medication if not prescribed by a professional as it can lead to negative effects on an individual. More in detail about them further in the article.
2. Resective Surgery
Resective surgery is a type of epilepsy surgery that involves removing brain tissue from the area of the brain which is primarily responsible for seizure triggers.
3. Vagus Nerve Stimulation
Vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) therapy is a therapy that includes the use of a small electrical device that helps with seizures and has proven to be a good treatment for a majority of people. This therapy is talked about in greater detail further in the article
4. Following a Special Diet (Ketogenic Diet)
Ketogenic Diet is a special kind of diet in which the amount of fats is high and the amount of proteins and carbohydrates is less. Following this diet is said to affect the brain in such a manner that helps prevent seizure disorders. More information about this can be found in an article by NCBI on the link between keto diets and seizures.
Above are some ways which can be used to prevent seizures. At the same time, 10 methods that have been beneficial for most people suffering from seizure disorders have been discussed below in a more detailed manner.
Ways to Prevent Seizures
There are some ways that can help people with epilepsy prevent or even treat epilepsy or seizure disorders if followed properly with the correct help. Some of them are:
1. Get Regular & Ample sleep
One of the biggest factors which contribute to increased chances of seizures is sleep deprivation, as reported by NCBI. Getting adequate sleep is a very important factor to keep seizures away as it helps get rid of tiredness, stress and so many more issues which could trigger a seizure.
Hence, it is essential to make a sleep schedule and follow it religiously and get enough sleep to reduce seizures. If there are any sleep disorders you are facing you must see a doctor and get treatment as losing sleep might trigger your seizures.
2. Avoid Alcohol & Drugs
It is of utmost importance that anyone prone to experience seizures does not consume any kind of alcohol or drugs as they may trigger the seizure disorders. The consumption of things such as recreational drugs and alcohol things might have a contrasting effect on anti-seizure medications.
If you are already a very regular consumer of alcohol or drugs you need to stop immediately and look out for issues post-alcohol withdrawal. Whenever an individual who regularly consumes alcohol tries to get rid of it he/she experiences symptoms such as anxiety, hallucinations, and seizures etc. These symptoms are known as alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
If you are experiencing any kind of these symptoms you should immediately consult a doctor and strictly follow the doctor’s instructions.
3. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is one the best medicine a doctor can suggest to someone as it is something which helps any individual by improving overall health. There are countless health advantages that “Daily Exercise” offers.
Exercise is not directly proven to stop seizures but it sure helps keep the body healthy mentally and physically. Exercise is proven to help with stress and for the majority of people struggling with seizures stress is a primary trigger for epilepsy seizures.
4. Pay Attention to the Body Temperature
It is very important to regularly keep a check on the body temperature of the person who is prone to have a seizure. It has been noticed and studied that for some people high fever can prove to be a trigger for a seizure. Children are more prone to be affected and triggered by a high fever compared to adults.
Febrile seizures are fits that can be triggered by fever in children who mostly are 6 months to 3 years old. If you are a parent it can be distressing to see your child having a seizure so make sure you are prepared for such an emergency.
If your child gets a febrile seizure and it does not stop within 5 minutes make sure you immediately consult a doctor as that can be harmful to the child. Hence one should be regularly monitoring the body temperature so things like febrile seizures and seizures, in general, can be prevented.
5. Find a Good Neurologist for Your Needs
You must find a good neurologist or a doctor in general who can help guide you with your seizures & neurological disorders etc. It is essential to be in good hands for care and advice hence, finding the best doctor you can find is essential.
6. Avoid Flashing Lights as Much as Possible
Flashing lights is a commonly known trigger for seizures but the good news is that they impact only about 3% of people with epilepsy. This phenomenon of getting triggered by bright lights is known as photosensitive epilepsy. Various studies have been done on the sane too.
Things such as heart disease, brain injuries, and stress are some of the most common seizure triggers. Anyone sensitive to flashing lights should avoid them at all costs to prevent epilepsy.
7. Following a Ketogenic Diet
A ketogenic diet otherwise also known as the medical diet is a diet designed to help with preventing, treating, or helping manage any kind of medical condition. The ketogenic diet is a special diet that consists of high fat, adequate protein, and very low carbohydrates.
The distribution of nutrients in a common keto diet is as follows:
- 80-70% fats
- 20% proteins
- 5-10% carbohydrates
Ketogenic diets are usually recommended to children to treat epilepsy of all ages such diet plans are said to help with neurological problems. Ketogenic diets are said to be used to treat epilepsy since the 1920s. It is still not understood how following a keto diet helps with treating epilepsy but the high fat and less sugar affects the brain in such a way that the tendency of the brain to generate epilepsy reduces.
8. Avoid Brain Injuries
One must avoid any kind of injury to the head to prevent epilepsies as anyone who has a severe brain injury has more chance of getting a seizure. This point is primarily applicable to children but is essential to be followed by everyone regardless of their age.
Any kind of head injury to any individual creates a high risk to have epilepsy. Head trauma is to be avoided at any cost. Some ways which can help prevent head trauma are wearing helmets on two-wheelers, using seat belts on four-wheelers, and being careful while using stairs as falls are one of the most common reasons why older people get head injuries.
9. Take Your Medicine on Time
It is important to take your medicines (only if it is a prescribed medicine) as they help with seizure control and not taking them on time might increase the chances of epilepsy. At the same time, it is equally important to get yourself treated if needed and make sure to get the right treatment from a trained doctor.
Epilepsy medications are essential to prevent the risk of seizures. Within a year, 30% to 70% of those who experience their first seizure will experience a second seizure.
There are various kinds of medicines that are prescribed by doctors such as:
1) Antiepileptic Drugs: These are drugs that are used to prevent or treat seizures by controlling abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
2) Anticonvulsant Drugs: These drugs are also used to prevent seizures by controlling the electrical activity in the brain.
Such medicines are of primary importance to some people with epilepsy to manage epilepsy.
10. Vagus Nerve Stimulation
Vagus Nerve Stimulation refers to the use of a device to stimulate the vagus nerve with electrical impulses. The device used to stimulate the nerve is currently approved to treat epilepsy and even depression. This stimulation helps prevent, reduce & help manage epilepsy.
In conclusion, an epileptic seizure is not something that should be taken lightly and anyone prone to have a seizure should make sure to take precautions and regularly follow them in other to prevent any kind of seizure.
Make sure to take your prescription medications on time (if you have any), exercise regularly, get enough sleep
If you are struggling to look for some answers regarding any kind of epilepsy the best place to look for it is “epilepsy foundation”. It is a foundation whose goal is to help in the fight to overcome the challenges people living with epilepsy have to face, to find cures for all these epilepsies, and to save lives.As an Amazon Associate, Icy Health earns from qualifying purchases.