Epilepsy

Description

Epilepsy is a disease characterized by seizures. These seizures occur as a result of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. The type, frequency, and duration of the seizures differ, depending on the person. Seizures may appear for no discernible reason, or they may be triggered by an allergen, a flashing light, noise, drugs, alcohol, stress, menstruation, nutritional imbalances, emotional distress, hunger, or other factors. Some people are conscious during a seizure, while others are not. Some epileptics experience extreme fatigue and confusion after a seizure, while others are able to continue their regular activity after an attack. Some individuals notice warning signs-a tightening of the stomach, a certain sound, or a specific odor-a few seconds to three minutes before an attack that alerts them to an impending seizure.

Seizure disorder, as epilepsy is also known, affects an estimated lout every 100 people. In approximately 75 percent of the reported cases, the disorder begins in childhood.

An exact cause can be determined in only about 30 percent of cases. The most frequently identified causes are: genetics (a family history of epilepsy); severe head trauma (including car accidents, gun-shot wounds, and sports-related accidents); brain tumor; stroke; poisoning; alcoholism; infection (including meningitis, encephalitis, and lupus); maternal complications(injury or illness during pregnancy); and oxygen deprivation in newborn infants.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Recurring seizures, ranging from repetitive twitching movements in a particular area of the body to convulsions of the entire body
  • Staring spells wherein the individual is unaware of his or her surroundings
  • Loss of consciousness

Conventional Medical Treatment

To diagnose epilepsy, your doctor takes a detailed medical history, including a history of any seizures, and he or she may perform one or more tests. The most common examination is called an electroencephalogram (EEG), wherein a machine tracks the electrical impulses of your brain. Other tests, such as a CAT scan, MRI, serum test, or video monitoring, may be necessary to confirm diagnosis.

Treatment for epilepsy varies according to theseverity of the disorder and the individual. Some people are able to control the condition without medication, while others may require a prescription anti-convulsant drug to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures. Examples of medications used to control seizures include carbamazepin (Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin), phenobarbital, and ethosuximide (Zarontin). Treatment is individualized and often patients need more than one medication to control seizure activity.

complementary and Alternative Treatments

Nutrition and Supplementation

Your diet should contain cultured milk products, such as yogurt and kefir, as well as eggs, green leafy vegetables, raw cheese, raw milk, and soybeans. Drink fresh juices made from carrots, green leafy vegetables, red grapes, and seaweed to get concentrated levels of essential nutrients. Avoid refined foods and sugar, alcohol, animal protein, fried foods, artificial sweeteners, nicotine, and caffeine.

Think small: take small meals and small amounts of liquid at anyone time. Do not use aluminum cookware, as aluminum gets into food and has been linked to seizures. Improve circulation by getting moderate daily exercise.

The following daily supplement guidelines are for adults; adjust dosages for children.

Most Important

  • vitamin B complex (50 mg)-essential to the functioning of the central nervous system, supplemented with vitamin B3 (50 mg)-improves circulation, vitamin B6 (100 to 600 mg 3 times daily, under supervision of a doctor), and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) (500 mg) the anti-stress vitamin
  • magnesium (700 mg)
  • taurine (500 mg 3 times a day, with water or juice, not with food or milk; for optimal absorption take with 100 mg vitamin C and 50 mg vitamin B6)-aids brain function
  • tyrosine (500 mg 3 times daily)
  • folic acid (400 mcg)-promotes nervous system health

Also Recommended

  • zinc (25 mg)
  • VItamin E (400 IU)
  • calcium (1500 mg)
  • selenium (100 mcg)
  • coenzyme (30 mg ) improves brain oxygenation
  • glycine (500 mg)
  • dimethyl glycine (100 mg twice a day)

(Consult your healthcare provider regarding the duration of treatment.)

Aromatherapy

Some essential oils are said to provoke seizures in sensitive people. Anyone prone to seizures should avoid fennel, hyssop, rosemary, sage, and wormwood essential oils. Research suggests that the more relaxing oils (Roman chamomile, cedarwood, and neroli) can reduce the frequency of seizures.

Ayurvedic Medicine

An Ayurvedic practitioner may suggest taking an Ayurvedic herbal mixture of brahmi, punamava, jatamansi and saraswati chuma twice daily. Always consult your doctor before using any new remedy for epilepsy.

Bodywork and Somatic Practices

CranioSacral Therapy has been helpful with this disorder. Other options may include Feldenkrais, Oriental bodywork, and reflexology.

Herbal Therapy

The following herbs have a calming effect on the central nervous system and can be quite helpful in treating epilepsy: black cohosh, hyssop, and lobelia. Use these herbs on an alternating basis for optimum effect. For minor, or petit mal, seizures, try 1 teaspoon of skullcap tincture 3 times daily.

Herbal products are available in health food stores as well as some pharmacies and supermarkets. Follow package for specific directions. Consult your doctor before starting an herbal regimen to treat epilepsy.

Hydrotherapy

Under the guidance of a professional, you might want to try constitutional therapy several times weekly. You can also try a relaxing Epsom salts bath several times a week.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture Acupuncture has been shown to relieve and, in some cases, prevent-epileptic seizures. Auricular points targeted may include the heart, kidne stomach, and head.

Acupressure Applying firm pressure to Governing Vessel 26(located in the indentation between the nose and upper lip), has been shown to revive unconscious seizure victims in less than 30 seconds.

Chinese Herbal Therapy If aditional Chinese Medicine views epilepsy and seizures as "internal damp-wind" diseases, so an herbalist typically begins treatment by advocating herbs used to mollify this imbalance. Formulas that are thought to dispel damp-wind and prevent seizures include Clematis and Stephania, Leonurus and Achyranthes, and Antelope Horn Wind Injury Remedy.

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