The following are general guidelines you can follow to reduce your risk of seizures:
In some people, especially children, a strict diet rich in fats and low in carbohydrates may help lessen the number of seizures. This is called the ketogenic diet.
The ketogenic diet forces the body to break down fats rather than carbohydrates to provide the energy needed to survive. It is usually tried in children whose epileptic seizures are poorly controlled with medications. One study showed that the diet decreased the frequency of seizures 50%-90% in 75% of the patients studied. Another study comparing the ketogenic diet to no change in treatment showed that the diet may reduce seizures in children. It is not known exactly why the diet helps decrease seizures.
This diet is not easy to follow. It is very rigid, and the number of foods available to eat is very limited. Children are usually admitted to the hospital to begin this diet and must be followed very closely by a doctor and/or registered dietitian while they are on the diet. It also has possible side effects. These include:
Those on the diet should:
Epilepsy in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115086/Epilepsy-in-adults. Updated June 3, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2016.
Epilepsy in children. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900174/Epilepsy-in-children. Updated May 5, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2016.
Seizure disorders. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/seizure-disorders/seizure-disorders. Updated May 2012. Accessed February 22, 2013.
Treating seizures and epilepsy. Epilepsy Foundation website. Available at:http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy. Accessed February 17, 2014.
5/14/2008 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance. http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900174/Epilepsy-in-children. Neal EG, Chaffe H, Schwartz RH, et al. The ketogenic diet for the treatment of childhood epilepsy: a randomized controlled trial. Lancet Neurol. 2008;7(6):500-506.
Last reviewed March 2016 by Rimas Lukas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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