February 06, 2014

Epilepsy


    Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain's electrical system. Abnormal electrical impulses cause brief changes in movement, behavior, sensation, or awareness. It is also called a seizure disorder. When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy. Seizures happen when clusters of nerve cells in the brain signal abnormally, which may briefly alter a person's consciousness, movements or actions.


Causes

  • There is a clear cause for epilepsy in only a minority of the cases. Typically, the known causes of seizure involve some injury to the brain. Some of the main causes of epilepsy include:
  • Low oxygen during birth
  • Head injuries that occur during birth or from accidents during youth or adulthood
  • Brain tumors
  • Genetic conditions that result in brain injury, such as tuberous sclerosis
  • Infections such as meningitis or encephalitis
  • Stroke or any other type of damage to the brain
  • Abnormal levels of substances such as sodium or blood sugar

Dietary changes that may be helpful for Epilepsy 


     The ketogenic diet was developed in the early twentieth century when few drug treatments for epilepsy were available; until recently, it had been used only when drug therapy was ineffective. The dietary approach was based on the observation that ketosis (increased blood levels of chemicals called ketones) is associated with reduction of seizures. Ketosis can be produced by a diet high in fat and very low in carbohydrate and protein
    Possible side effects of the ketogenic diet include gastrointestinal upset, dehydration, anemia, low blood protein levels, high blood levels of fat and acidity, kidney stones, and signs of liver toxicity. Vitamin and mineral supplementation is necessary due to the many deficiencies of this unusual diet. The ketogenic diet should not be attempted without the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. 

Nutritional supplements that may be helpful for Epilepsy

  • Vitamin E has been studied as a possible add-on to conventional drug treatment for epilepsy.
  • Folic acid supplementation (5 mg per day) was reported to reduce epileptic seizure frequency, though the effect was not significantly better than with placebo
  • Vitamin B6 has been used to treat infants and small children who have seizures related to a genetic enzyme defect. However, this condition is not considered true epilepsy, and whether people with epilepsy would benefit from taking vitamin B6 supplements is unknown.
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