Ways & How

how to prevent epilepsy

how to prevent epilepsy

The brain is a powerful organ, perhaps the most powerful in the body. It generates electricity and uses this to send messages to and from cells to control all the functions in the body. Normally, brain activity uses 80 pulses of electrical energy per second. However, sometimes abnormal activity occurs and the electrical energy skyrockets to 500 pulses per second. When this occurs, the body jerks violently involuntarily, in what is known as seizures. Seizures cause a part or the entire body to shake for a couple of seconds and may be paired with loss of consciousness. Doctors who specialize in seizures or neurological conditions can conduct tests to identify the cause of the seizures. For one out of every 130 people who experience seizures, epilepsy is identified as the cause. Epilepsy is a neurological condition wherein recurrent seizures are experienced: seizures that are not caused by any other underlying condition such as high blood pressure or low blood sugar. In understanding how to prevent epilepsy, one must know how it comes about in the first place. When it comes to diagnosis, there are three types of seizures.

The first is called ‘idiopathic,’ meaning the doctor cannot identify a cause. Second is called ‘cryptogenic,’ wherein the doctors know there is an underlying cause but cannot be definite in identifying it. Lastly, the third is called ‘symptomatic,’ wherein the cause is known and under which epilepsy belongs. Essentially, epilepsy has no known cause, although medical research has identified some likely factors that lead to its development. The first is genetic disposition. You could simply be more genetically predisposed to develop the condition than others. Another factor is a problem during pregnancy wherein the fetus was harmed and developed neurological problems. Still another factor is a head injury acquired during accidents from say, extreme sports. In rare cases, a tumor is found to be the cause of the recurrent seizures. Any or all of these factors could lead into epilepsy. While there is no sure way of preventing epilepsy, one can avoid the factors that can lead to its development and greatly decrease one’s risk for having it. Here are some steps one can do to avoid developing epilepsy:

  1. Wear protective head and driving gear. Because the brain is where epilepsy occurs, care must be taken to protect it at all times. When driving, use the seatbelt and make sure infants are placed in car seats. When driving motorcycles or bicycles, protective head and body gear must be worn at all times. The risk for head injury is higher for those who engage in extreme sports such as motocross or car racing. If engaging in these sports cannot be avoided, take care to avoid any type of injury at all costs.

  2. Address head injuries immediately. In the unfortunate event of a head injury, however mild, always consult a neurological specialist to address the damage. If the injury is properly medicated and treated, chances for possible complications (including epilepsy) are avoided.

  3. Responsible prenatal care. As mentioned, irresponsible prenatal activity could lead to the baby being born with neurological disorders. The mother must undergo regular prenatal check-ups and avoid any activity (including diet and lifestyle practices) that could potentially damage the unborn child.

  4. Avoid seizure-causing conditions. Other conditions such as brain infections or fever (i.e. meningitis), low blood sugar, alcohol withdrawal, narcolepsy and high blood pressure can cause the brain to generate abnormal levels of electrical energy. One should avoid developing such diseases to prevent the development of epilepsy.

  5. Undergo genetic screening. Lastly, genetic screening and testing can be undergone to identify genetic dispositions. Once found positive, the condition can then be managed as early as possible to be prevented from worsening.

If you have a history of seizures in the family or feel that you are at risk for neurological disorders, knowing how to prevent is vital knowledge. As epilepsy can be potentially chronic and debilitating at its worst stages, it is always best to master prevention efforts.


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