If you have been diagnosed with epilepsy, you may realize that there is no cure and that living with it means taking anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) to suppress irregular brain activity and avoiding certain triggers. A seizure-free active lifestyle is possible, but it will take good communication between you and your neurologist as well as some dedication in your daily life.
- Take medication regularly.
Never miss a dose. Just don’t. Taking your medication is the number one prevention measure you can take. Try to take your medicine at the same time everyday and refill your them promptly so there is never a lapse between doses. If one medication fails to work, don’t give up; there are plenty more options your doctor can prescribe.
- Get adequate sleep at regular intervals.
Sleep deprivation is a sure way to make yourself vulnerable to seizures. It seems that a well-rested brain is a happy brain, so even in times of stress, try to maintain a healthy sleep cycle. When traveling, avoid the red-eye flights if possible.
- Avoid excessive alcohol use other substances.
One risk of alcohol or substance intake is cognitive impairment. Being under the influence of alcohol or other substances may hinder your ability to remember to take your medication, or they may prevent you from going to sleep.
Another risk is that combining alcohol or other things (even over-the-counter medications) with AEDs may result in undesired or dangerous interactions. Some medications, such as prescriptive contraceptives, may reduce the efficacy of AEDs, and may require a dosage adjustment. As a rule, consult with your physician.
- Keep a seizure diary.
Keeping track of the details related to your seizure activity, including what occurs before, during, and after will help fine tune your doctor’s understanding of your epilepsy. Seizures will happen outside of the doctor’s office more often than in, so providing your physician with as many clues as possible is key.
Over time, certain trends or triggers may become apparent. For instance, seizures may occur during ovulation or just before menstruation begins. In this case, your doctor may increase your dosage during these at-risk times.
- Prevent brain injury.
Prevent epilepsy by preventing abnormal fetal brain development during pregnancy; anyone who is pregnant should seek solid prenatal care to avoid brain abnormalities which may result in epilepsy. Brain injuries can be prevented by using seat belts, placing infants and children in car seats, and wearing bicycle helmets.
The New York University Comprehensive Epilepsy Center warns that approximately one third of those over the age of 65 will fall at least once every year, so installing rails, rearranging furniture, and reducing clutter may help assist the elderly in preventing falls that may result in head injuries.