Seizures are the most well-known symptom of epilepsy. However, it’s essential to know that seizures can occur because of many different underlying conditions, including low blood sugar, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), blood vessel conditions in your brain, and certain autoimmune disorders.
Seizures can cause a range of symptoms from feeling confused to having limp muscles to experiencing convulsions. Not surprisingly, seizures can lead to dangerous situations, such as falling and breaking a bone. Seizures can also increase your risk of breathing apneas.
Regardless of what underlying cause is connected to your seizures, our multidisciplinary neurosurgery team here at Link Neuroscience Institute understands the gravity of managing seizures. We work with Ventura and Santa Barbara, California, patients who struggle with seizures connected to various health conditions.
In the meantime, our team created this guide focusing on five general lifestyle tips for living with seizures.
1. Take your medication
Taking your medication as directed is the best way to manage the condition and avoid the complications of seizures. Anti-seizure drugs, which control irregular brain signals, can effectively stop or reduce the frequency of seizures. Examples of anti-seizure medications include:
This is just a small sample of medications that may be used to help manage seizures. Because some medications can affect your blood sugar levels, you may require regular lab work to ensure your medication works safely and effectively.
Additionally, never take new medications or supplements (or alter your medication schedule) without speaking with your provider first.
2. Identify and avoid triggers
In addition to taking your medication as directed, it’s important to identify and avoid your seizure triggers. The most common triggers are stress, lack of sleep, and alcohol. Knowing which triggers you have can help shape your prevention plan. You might:
- Learn more about good sleep hygiene practices
- Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night
- Exercise regularly and safely each day (which can help reduce stress and improve sleep quality)
- Avoid flashing lights
- Don’t smoke, drink alcohol excessively, or abuse other substances.
If you’re unsure what your triggers are, record a log to track your seizures (frequency) and any potential triggers you encountered that day. This information can help identify and avoid seizure triggers.
3. Put safety first
Certain situations can become dangerous (and potentially fatal) if you have a seizure during the activity. This includes driving and swimming. If you’re not cleared to drive, don’t attempt to do so. Likewise, never swim alone. This is good advice for anyone, but it’s especially true if you have seizures.
4. Know seizure first aid
Knowing seizure first-aid can potentially save a life. If someone near you has a seizure:
- Stay with the person until the seizure ends, and they are fully awake
- Comfort the person and speak gently and calmly as they could be disoriented
- Check to see if the person is wearing a medical bracelet or other emergency information
Call 9-1-1 if the person is injured, bleeding (from falling, etc.), doesn’t wake up, experiences their first seizure, has underlying conditions (such as diabetes), has a seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes, or has a seizure in water.
If you have seizures, ensure your family knows these crucial first-aid steps.
5. Have regular check-ins with your care team
When you’re living with seizures, one of the most important things you can do is have regular check-ins with your care team at Link Neuroscience Institute. Because medication is often the first line of defense against seizures, our team works to find the right medication or combination of medications that works right for you.
We also recommend other treatments, including a ketogenic diet (or other dietary modifications),
vagus nerve stimulation, deep brain stimulation, or surgery.
To learn more about seizure management, use our online scheduling tool to book an appointment. You can also call our Santa Barbara or Oxnard, California location.