Which Eating Disorder Is Best Characterized By Extreme Weight Loss Epilepsy and Nutritional Guidelines

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Epilepsy and Nutritional Guidelines

Epilepsy is a fairly common condition that can cause repeated or prolonged seizures. These seizures can cause a number of different sensations, depending on the type of seizures involved and the severity of the epilepsy. It is important to note that not everyone who has a seizure has epilepsy, and not all seizures will recur. Due to some negativity surrounding the term epilepsy, some doctors now prefer to use the more neutral term seizure disorder.

There are two main categories of seizures: partial or generalized. In a partial seizure, there is focus and only a small part of the brain is affected, whereas in a general seizure, more of the brain is involved. A simple partial seizure can cause a change in consciousness but not a loss of consciousness. Complex partial seizures typically involve unconsciousness.

The most severe and severe type of seizure is grand mal seizure, a generalized seizure that involves the motor systems in the brain and involves seizures. The grand mal crisis is marked by a tonic phase (forceful contractions of the muscles) and a clonic phase (slow, jerky movements). Additionally, there are less severe types of seizures, including petit mal seizures, which are also called absence seizures and can be dismissed as simply daydreaming unless the actual diagnosis is made.

Epilepsy can be related to another problem, including a head injury, brain tumor, brain infection, or stroke. However, less than half of people diagnosed with epilepsy or seizure disorder even know why they have it. It is important to have the disorder recognized and diagnosed so that treatment can begin – without proper treatment, the seizures will become progressively more frequent and may become more severe. Doctors typically rule out other disorders and diseases before diagnosing epilepsy because in its mild or early stages it can mimic other disorders.

Symptoms of epilepsy:

– You may notice strange smells or sounds. You may also have double vision.

– You may lose control of your muscles

– You may fall, twist or jump.

– You can stare into space without realizing it.

– You might pass out.

In most cases, epilepsy is treated with medications intended to reduce or control seizures. Some of the drugs can cause other side effects, so the doctor has to experiment with different types and different dosages so that he can find the right control with the fewest side effects. There are other treatment options for seizure disorders, including a special diet, surgery to remove damaged tissue in the brain, and implantation of a device called a vagus nerve stimulator. This sends signals into the neck to help control seizures.

The special diet

The diet suggested by doctors is called a ketogenic diet, high in fat and low in carbohydrates. On a ketogenic diet, the body does not burn carbohydrates for energy as it normally would, but burns fat instead. When the body burns these fats, it produces a carbon substance called ketones. In a seizure disorder, ketones are thought to help suppress seizure activity. (Approximately 30% of children who have been placed on the ketogenic diet have complete seizure control, while another 40% have sufficient control to continue with the diet.)

The ketogenic diet is typically prescribed over a period of about two years and then carbohydrates and other nutrients are gradually added back. these nutrients, especially calcium and vitamin C. The diet has been criticized by a number of health groups due to the high fat content, however, no problems with heart disease or stunted growth have been reported for the children. Since childhood obesity is a major concern and there are so many children who have diabetes and other weight-related conditions, the possible benefits of the ketogenic diet must be weighed against its risks.

Other dietary considerations

Children and adults who have seizure disorders should try to avoid artificial sugar called aspartame if it increases seizure activity. Aspartame causes seizures in people with a metabolic disorder called phenylketonuria. This disorder prevents the amino acid phenylalanine from being properly digested and used. (Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid that must be supplied from food and supplement sources. It is converted in the body to the non-essential amino acid tyrosine).

People with seizure disorders may also have some food sensitivities and food allergies that they should be aware of. In some cases, these foods can even trigger the seizure activity in the first place. Common foods that can trigger these reactions include dairy products, including cheese, citrus fruits, wheat, and food additives such as tartrazine and benzoic acid. The level of food sensitivity can vary from person to person and the person can eat these foods every day without knowing they are sensitive to them. It is important to find out if there are any food allergies that can or have triggered seizure activity.

Protein supplements may be suggested in the ketogenic diet, however, supplements should only be started on the advice of a doctor. It is important to find the right supplement, especially if there are food intolerances or other problems. Whey protein, for example, can be difficult to digest if there is any lactose intolerance issue. Soy or rice protein may be better suggestions here; rice protein is considered hypoallergenic and may be your best bet. Egg protein may also be acceptable as a supplement. Protein bars may be suggested, however, the ingredients should be read carefully so they do not contain anything that might be considered problematic for the person with seizure disorder.

Doctors also suggest supplementing with vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that fights free radical damage that can increase seizure activity by interfering with normal brain cell activity. Selenium is a mineral that is also useful in controlling seizures. Good food sources of selenium include mushrooms, broccoli, cabbage, fish, garlic, onions and whole grains. If lactose isn’t a concern, whey protein helps by supplying the enzyme glutathione, which is an important antioxidant for the immune system. Folic acid should be included because some of the medications used to treat seizures can deplete many of the B-complex vitamins. Folic acid is the supplemental form of naturally occurring folate.

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