Epilepsy and the seizures that it causes can be one of the most terrifying disorders you can ever experience or witness. Although these seizures can easily come in varying degrees, any form they come in can be potentially dangerous. There are several conventional treatments for this disorder, but most all anti-seizure medications come with a long list of potential side effects. There are, however, some nutrients that may be just as effective without the risks of these side effects.
What is it?
Epilepsy is a disorder that is the result of electrical signals that are generated inside of your brain, and when this occurs, they can cause seizures. If you experience just one seizure, contrary to a lot of misconception, this does not mean that you have epilepsy. However, if you have reoccurring seizures, you do have this disorder. There is also another misconception about this disorder; not everyone has full-fledged convulsions. Although these convulsions are very common, some people during a seizure will simply stare blankly for seconds but much like the convulsions, may have no recollection of the episode at all.
It is estimated that 1 in every 100 people in the world has some form of this disorder, and as a result, will experience a seizure of some type at one point in their lifetime. Even if the seizures are considered to be mild, they will still need to be treated, as they can occur at any time and can literally be life threatening if they occur when you are driving, walking in congested areas, as well as some physical activities such as swimming. If a child experiences epilepsy, in most every case, they will outgrow it; but this is not true if it occurs after childhood.
Since epilepsy is the result of abnormal brain cell activities, they can produce different types of symptoms. It can cause temporary confusion, a very strange staring spell, as well as full convulsions which will be uncontrolled jerking movements in your arms as well as your legs. In some cases, it may also cause a total loss of consciousness which is considered to be the most dangerous of all the symptoms.
Types of Seizures:
Epilepsy will be classified by your doctor in two basic forms; partial or generalized and this will all be based on how this abnormal brain activity in your brain occurs. If it is a partial seizure, it is believed to be the result of abnormal activity in just one part of your brain, and this is also referred to as a focal seizure. This form also comes in two types; simple and complex. If it is simple, you will not lose consciousness, but it can very easily alter the way things look, smell, fell, or taste to you.
This form can also result in uncontrolled jerking to occur in one part of your body such as your arm or leg, and you may also experience a tingling sensation, flashing lights, as well as vertigo.
If this form is complex, it usually will alter your consciousness and because of this, you will lose total awareness of your surroundings for a period of time. It is this form that causes staring and can also cause confused movements such as suddenly rubbing your body or walking in circles as if you were lost. Generalized seizures involve all of your brain and are considered to be more serious. They also come in different forms with the first being as absence seizure, also referred to as petit mal, and will also cause blank staring, strange body movements, as well as a brief loss of consciousness.
The next form is referred to as myoclonic seizures and this form causes sudden jerks or twitches in your arms or legs. Next is atonic seizures and these are also called drop attacks, as you will temporarily lose several parts of your muscle controls which causes you to collapse. The final form is referred to as tonic-clonic or grand mal seizures and this is by far and away the most intense. It causes a total loss of consciousness, severe body stiffness and shaking, as well as a very sudden loss of your bladder control.
Although the exact cause of epilepsy is very hard to identify in most cases, there are some risk factors that you should be aware of. The first of these is genetic factors and it has been estimated that there may be as high as 500 genes that are linked to this disorder in your body. The next risk factors are a heady injury of some type, a medical disorder such as a stroke or heart attack that has affected your brain, as well as dementia. Meningitis, Aids, a prenatal injury, as well as autism or Down syndrome are also considered to be risk factors.
Epilepsy does have several medications that can help, but in most cases it can be very difficult and complex to find the right medication as well as the correct dosage. All anti-seizure medications also come with some very undesirable tangibles: they can have some side effects that include extreme rashes, speech problems, as well as a loss of coordination.
For this reason, you may want to consider some nutrients as additional treatments and the most powerful of these nutrients is Vitamin E. There have been several studies that have shown that people taking anti-seizure drugs have reduced blood levels of this vitamin but there have also been other studies that have shown how it may help with seizures. There were studies done with animals that demonstrated that this vitamin helped to pressurize oxygen, iron, and certain chemicals that may slow or even stop seizures.
Because of this, University of Toronto researchers decided to test it on humans. They took 24 children with epilepsy and administered 400 international units of vitamin E once a day for three months along with anti-seizure medication. The results were quite promising, as 10 of the 12 children that took this vitamin had a 60 percent reduction in seizures, and 6 of them had between 90 and 100 percent reduction. By comparison, the 12 children that took placebos show no improvements at all.
Vitamin E helps to fight free radicals that are generated by chemical reactions that involve oxygen, and once this is done, they steal healthy molecules from embedded cells to survive. Vitamin E stops this process almost entirely, as it offers these free radicles their own electrons, which in turn protect your cells. The mineral selenium may also help as severe and uncontrollable seizures reduce the blood levels of glutathione peroxidase. Glutathione peroxidase is a selenium dependent anti-oxidant enzyme and the only way to protect against this from occurring is to take selenium supplements.
Epilepsy can be a very frightening experience if you suffer from these seizures, and it can be equally frightening if you experience it one of your loved ones suffering a seizure of any kind. Anti-seizure drugs can be effective, but finding the right one for you in the correct dosage can be very challenging. However, taking these two nutrients may make controlling this disorder much easier as well as safer in the long run.
Nutrients and Epilepsy
Seizures and epilepsy: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/epilepsy/detail_epilepsy.htm
About epilepsy: Epilepsy fact sheet. Epilepsy Foundation. http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/about/factsfigures.cfm