The Top 5 Treatment Options for Epilepsy

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Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which you experience unprovoked, recurring seizures. A seizure is a brief and sudden burst of electrical activity in the brain characterized by uncontrollable spasms and movements. If you or someone you love experiences such an episode, call a neurologist in Marlboro Township to get help.

A mild seizure lasts a few seconds and may go unrecognized, while a stronger seizure lasts up to a few minutes and causes uncontrollable muscle twitches. Epilepsy has adverse effects on the quality of your psychological, cognitive, and social health. The primary causes of seizures include head trauma, extremely low blood sugar, high fever, and alcohol withdrawal.

Although there is no known cure for the condition, it can be managed with strategies like medication. The main treatment options available for epileptic patients include the following.

1. Medication

Medication is the mainstay of epilepsy treatment. About every 7 out of 10 patients with epilepsy experience improved symptoms or control over seizures when they are put on medication. Anticonvulsant or anti-seizure drugs work by regulating brain chemicals and impulses.

Every patient will react to the drugs they are given differently. Therefore, the kind of medication prescribed to you depends on factors like the type of seizures, your age, gender, and other health conditions you have.
You may have to try a few medications to find a good fit for you. Your doctor will keep giving you blood tests to either adjust the dosage or see how your body responds to the treatment.

2. Diet Therapy

The food you eat directly affects your nerve and brain activity. The ketogenic diet has been used for many years to treat certain types of epilepsy. It is a strict diet that reduces carbohydrate intake and maximizes proteins and fats. Although used mostly for children, the ketogenic diet has been proven to be effective in adults if they adhere to it. It is usually put brought into play after medication fails to work.

You should not attempt to follow the ketogenic diet on your own. Get support from your doctor and a dietitian so you can avoid side effects like constipation, dehydration, or malnutrition. After a few years and with the supervision of your doctor, your child may be able to stop the diet and still remain seizure-free.

3. Neuromodulation Therapy

Neuromodulation therapy reduces the frequency and intensity of seizures by 20 to 40 percent. It uses a vagus neurostimulator to intercept and interrupt brain activity patterns that may cause a seizure. The small electrical impulses are sent through the vagus nerve to your brain.

The success of neuromodulation therapy depends on the type of epilepsy you have. You may still need to take your medication, but your doctor is likely to reduce your dosage when treatments accompany others.

4. Medical Cannabis

Cannabidiol or CBD oil is a cannabis-based medication used to help reduce the frequency of seizures in patients with intractable epilepsy. Medical cannabis has been proven to be safe and effective in treating the symptoms of Dravet Syndrome, a severe type of epilepsy with prolonged seizures.

5. Surgery

Your doctor may recommend epilepsy surgery if your condition doesn’t improve with other treatments. The type of surgery depends on where in your brain your seizures start. If they start in a small part of the brain that has good boundaries and does not control functions like sight or speech, your doctor will suggest performing its respective surgery.

Another option is disconnective surgery, which disconnects the paths between the brain nerves linked to your seizures.

Approximately 60 to 80 percent of epilepsy patients become seizure-free with surgery.

The Bottom Line

Epilepsy is highly manageable with the right treatment options and a few lifestyle changes. You can incorporate mediation, healthy eating, and physical exercise into your daily routine. A healthy lifestyle will significantly reduce your risk of experiencing a seizure.