Epilepsy: Surgery, Potential future treatments,Living with epilepsy, Lifestyle and home remedies

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing recurrent seizures or periods of unusual behaviour, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness.

Updated: January 7, 2018

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing recurrent seizures or periods of unusual behaviour, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness. Abnormal movements or behaviour due to unusual electrical activity in the brain are known as seizures which is a symptom of epilepsy. But not all people who appear to have seizures have epilepsy.

Surgery:

Surgery may be an option when medication can not decrease the number of seizures. The most common surgery is a resection which involves removing the part of the brain where the seizures begin. Most often, the temporal lobe is removed in a procedure known as temporal lobectomy which may stop seizure activity.
Surgery is performed when your tests show that:

  • Your seizures originate in a small, well-defined area of your brain.
  • The area in your brain to be operated on does not interfere with vital functions such as speech, language, motor function, vision or hearing.

There is another procedure called multiple subpial transection, or disconnection if the area of the brain is too big or important to remove. The surgeon makes cuts in the brain to interrupt the nerve pathway which keep seizures from spreading to other areas of the brain.
To avoid removing part of the brain that controls important functions such as vision, hearing, speech, or movement you will be kept awake during this surgery, so that the doctors can talk to you. After surgery, some people are able to cut down on antiseizure medications or even stop taking them. But in some cases you need to continue some medication to help prevent seizures after successful surgery.
There are risks to any surgery, including a bad reaction to anesthesia, bleeding, and infection. Sometimes surgery for epilepsy can cause complications such as permanently altering your thinking abilities known as cognitive. Discuss the pros and cons of the different procedures with your surgeon and seek a second opinion before making a final decision.

Potential Future Treatments:

Many potential new treatments for epilepsy are under research, including:

Deep brain stimulation:

Electrodes are implanted into a specific part of your brain, typically your thalamus. The electrodes are connected to a generator implanted in your chest or the skull that sends electrical pulses to your brain and may reduce your seizures.

Responsive neurostimulation:

Implantable, pacemaker-like devices analyze brain activity patterns to detect seizures before they happen and deliver an electrical charge or drug to stop the seizure.

Subthreshold stimulation:

For some people with seizures continuous stimulation to an area of your brain below a level that is physically noticeable can improve seizure outcomes and quality of life. This procedure will be appropriate for people who have seizures that start in an area of the brain that can not be removed because it would affect speech and motor functions. This will also be helpful for those  whose seizure characteristics mean their chances of successful treatment with responsive neurostimulation are low.

External nerve stimulation device:

This device would stimulate specific nerves to reduce frequency of seizures similar to vagus nerve stimulation. This device would be worn externally so that no surgery is required to implant the device.

Stereotactic laser ablation or radiosurgery:

Direct radiation at the specific area in the brain causing seizures will be given to destroy that tissue in an effort to better control the seizures.

Minimally invasive surgery:

New minimally invasive surgical techniques, such as MRI-guided laser ablation can reduces number of seizures with fewer risks than traditional open brain surgery for epilepsy.

Lifestyle and home remedies:

You can take better control of the condition by following a healthy life style along with home remedies. These include:

Regular Exercise:

Exercising may help keep you physically healthy and reduce depression. Make sure to drink enough water, and rest if you get tired during exercise.

Follow a ketogenic diet:

This diet is low in carbohydrates and high in fats. The diet requires a strict balance between fats, carbohydrates, and protein. The diet forces the body to use fat for energy instead of glucose, a process called ketosis. This is often recommended for children with epilepsy. The ketogenic diet does not benefit everybody. But it is often successful in reducing the frequency of seizures when followed properly. Constipation is a common side effect of this diet as it is low in fiber and high in fat.

Take your medication correctly:

Always take your medicine exactly as prescribed. Do ntt adjust your dosage before talking to your doctor.

Get enough sleep:

As lack of sleep can trigger seizures, be sure to get adequate rest every night.

Wear a medical alert bracelet:

This will help you to treat correctly in emergency.

Living with epilepsy:

Epilepsy is chronic disorder that can affect many parts of your life. Many everyday activities like crossing a busy street and driving can become dangerous as you never know when a seizure will occur. Here are few following things you can do to cope in addition to regular doctor visits and following your treatment plan:

  • Wear a medical alert bracelet so people know what to do if you have a seizure and can't speak.
  • Teach the people closest to you about seizures and what to do in an emergency.
  • Keep a seizure diary to help identify possible triggers so you can avoid them.
  • Take care of your health by eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
  • Seek professional help for symptoms of depression or anxiety.
  • Join a support group for people with seizure disorders.



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