What is epilepsy and how to live with it?

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder of the central nervous system in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing episodes of seizures, unusual behaviors, or loss of consciousness, as indicated by the Mayo Clinic.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 50 million people suffer from epilepsy in the world, which makes it one of the most common neurological disorders globally. Unfortunately, 70% do not receive the treatment they need due to financial impossibility.

Living with epilepsy may seem like a real challenge after diagnosis, but the reality is that prescription drugs tend to work very positively in most cases. If you want to know what habits an epileptic person should have in their day to day, read on.

Life habits that a person with epilepsy should lead

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates, epilepsy is not the end of the road or the end of individual well-being. Drugs work effectively in two out of three patients who suffer from it And, in some cases, surgery and other approaches are also options to follow.

The portal Living with epilepsy and many other sources indicate certain tips to improve the lives of patients in everyday life. We will briefly tell you some of them.

1. Practice exercise

Exercise is essential for all people, as it promotes proper physical, emotional and physiological well-being. According to the aforementioned source, several studies suggest that sport can raise the seizure threshold and reduce epileptiform discharges, which contributes to better managing crises.

Sport could reduce the risk of epileptic seizures, so its regular practice is recommended.

To know more: Types of epilepsy

2. Maintain your social life, but taking extreme precautions

Organizations that raise awareness about epilepsy in no case advise against the patient leaving social life. We are gregarious animals and, as such, We require the company of other human beings to develop properly. Even so, you have to be careful with certain factors:

  • Night outings are not discouraged, but be very careful with strobes and noise from some establishments.
  • Limit alcohol and tobacco use. The former correlates with some crisis episodes and tobacco does not, but reducing both is recommended for obvious reasons.
  • Don't deprive yourself of hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation and disorders have been shown to trigger epileptic seizures.

3. Driving has certain reservations

This issue is involved in controversy, as certain sources argue that there are documents that estimate that people who have seizures under control have a low risk of accident, while other research affirms that there is an inherent risk.

In countries like Spain it is forbidden for an epileptic person to drive if they have had seizures in the last year, for your safety and for everyone's. Talk to your medical specialist or the General Directorate of Traffic in your region if you have questions.

How to avoid a seizure if you have epilepsy

There are a series of measures to follow to avoid the appearance of seizures in epileptic patients. Some of them are the following:

  • Take your medications without missing a single dose and talk to your trusted doctor if you feel strange or have any questions.
  • Sleep well: portals like Apiceepilepsia.org they warn us that the decrease in sleep hours can promote the appearance of crises. Try to get 7-10 hours of sleep a day.
  • Limit your intake of alcoholic beverages: Alcohol excites neurons in the brain, disrupts normal sleep patterns, and can interact with epilepsy medications. This is a perfect breeding ground for the emergence of a new crisis.
  • Do not do drugs: Exciting drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, or amphetamines can promote the onset of epileptic seizures.
  • Avoid leading a life that is too stressful: periods of stress can lead to poor sleep or forgetfulness of medication.

How can a person be helped during an epileptic seizure?

The National Library of Medicine of the United States summarizes the basis of the action before a seizure in several essential points. These are as follows:

  1. When a seizure occurs the main objective is to protect the individual from injury. Therefore, a person who is having an epileptic seizure should be placed on the floor, lying in a safe area free of furniture and pointed objects.
  2. After this, it is necessary to rest the head.
  3. Loosen tight clothing, especially around the neck.
  4. Turn the person onto their side in case they start vomiting. This prevents that vomit from being regurgitated and diverted to the lungs.
  5. Look for a medical identification bracelet with information about the patient and number to call. This should be taken with you if you have had seizures in recent times.
  6. Stay with the patient until help arrives. Meanwhile, monitor his vital signs (pulse and respiratory rate) as much as possible.

What you should not do under any circumstances is immobilize the person, put an object in his mouth so that he does not bite his tongue or perform breathing or other resuscitation techniques. Just stay calm, position the patient appropriately, and monitor until help arrives.

Epileptic seizures require calm by whoever is nearby to control the signs, turn the patient onto their side, and avoid injury.

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Reduce risk in everyday life

As you have seen, epilepsy is a pathology that requires multiple considerations in the day-to-day life of the patient. Still, following the established guidelines and under proper treatment, an epileptic person can lead an almost normal life without serious mishaps.

The daily measures to avoid seizures are based on sleeping well, avoiding drug and alcohol use, and not undergoing events that cause emotions that are too intense or stressful. If you follow these tips, you will minimize the risk of having an attack.