Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by seizures. While most patients take anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) to inhibit specific brain activities that cause seizures, certain activities and environmental factors can still trigger epileptic seizures. You might wonder how to prevent seizures. It is important to adopt healthy behaviors and lifestyle choices in order to better manage the disorder.
Healthy Sleep Patterns
Being deprived of sleep greatly increases the chances of seizures occurring. Therefore it is crucial to get a good night’s rest at regular intervals. Epileptics are encouraged to avoid erratic work schedules—such as those that involve infrequent graveyard shifts— and to be mindful when traveling; for instance, avoiding trips that involve red-eyes. A well-rested brain that is accustomed to regular sleep cycles is less susceptible to epileptic attacks.
Adhering to Medication Guidelines
One of the most crucial aspects of managing epileptic symptoms is for patients to take AEDs at their scheduled times, and to be extremely careful about never missing a dose. Diligently refilling prescriptions before they run out is highly recommended. Additionally, if a certain medication proves ineffective, a doctor may prescribe something different as there are many options available. It may take a few attempts at various prescriptions before the most appropriate medication is determined.
Avoid Mind-Altering Substances
Mind-altering substances, especially alcohol, lead to cognitive impairment, which can affect a patient’s healthy sleeping patterns, as well as their ability to remember to take medications properly. Alcohol may also inhibit the effectiveness of AEDs, sometimes even cause dangerous interactions. Non-narcotics, such as prescriptive contraceptives, may also inhibit AEDS. It is therefore important to consult with your doctor about what medications you are currently taking.
Keep a Diary of Seizure Occurrences
Since it is often difficult to remember specific details surrounding an epileptic fit a few days after it had occurred, a diary is a useful tool to better recognize patterns, environmental triggers, and ultimately, places and things to avoid. For instance, some female epileptics tend to experience seizures while menstruating, making it therefore wise to avoid certain activities during this time. The diary may also prove very useful for doctors to better treat the condition.
Avoid Brain Injury
Head trauma can greatly exacerbate both the frequency and severity of epileptic seizures. It is therefore critical to use protective headgear while engaging in potentially dangerous physical activities, such as bicycling.
Elderly patients are encouraged to install railings and other safety systems around the house to decrease the risk of falling.
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