Epilepsy, a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures, affects millions of people worldwide. Its triggers are varied and can range from genetic factors to environmental influences. Five common triggers of epilepsy include genetic predisposition, brain trauma, infectious diseases, developmental disorders, and exposure to certain chemicals or drugs. Managing epilepsy often involves a multi-faceted approach, including medication, lifestyle changes, and sometimes surgery. Among the drug treatment options, three notable ones are anticonvulsants like Levetiracetam, Sodium Valproate, and a relatively new addition, Epidiolex. Epidiolex, particularly noteworthy for being the first FDA-approved drug derived from cannabis, is used primarily to treat seizures in two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. This introduction sets the stage for a deeper exploration into the complexities of epilepsy, its triggers, and the evolving landscape of its treatment options.

1. Pay attention to fevers

Fevers can act as a potent trigger for seizures in individuals with epilepsy, especially in children. Monitoring body temperature during illness and taking prompt measures to manage fever can help mitigate this risk. Keep a thermometer handy, and in case of fever, use appropriate fever-reducing medications as directed by a healthcare professional. Staying vigilant during times of illness is a crucial step in preventing seizures associated with elevated body temperature.

2. Avoid flashing lights

Photosensitive epilepsy, triggered by flashing or flickering lights, is a well-documented phenomenon. Video games, certain television programs, and even everyday situations like strobe lights can induce seizures in susceptible individuals. To prevent these light-induced seizures, it’s essential to be mindful of the surroundings. Consider using screen filters on electronic devices, and be cautious when exposed to intense or repetitive light patterns. Opting for steady and diffused lighting can significantly reduce the risk of seizures related to visual stimuli.

3. Eat regularly to avoid hypoglycemia 

Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is crucial for individuals with epilepsy, as low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can trigger seizures. Establishing a routine of regular meals and snacks throughout the day helps stabilize glucose levels and reduces the likelihood of hypoglycemia-related seizures. Choosing a well-balanced diet rich in complex carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats can contribute to overall blood sugar stability. It’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a nutritionist to create a personalized dietary plan tailored to individual needs.

4. Have a regular sleep schedule

A consistent sleep schedule plays a pivotal role in managing epilepsy. Irregular sleep patterns, insufficient sleep, or disrupted sleep can increase the risk of seizures. Establishing a bedtime routine and ensuring an adequate amount of sleep each night are essential steps in seizure prevention. Create a comfortable sleep environment, limit screen time before bedtime, and practice relaxation techniques to promote restful sleep. Consulting with a healthcare professional can provide further insights into optimizing sleep patterns for individuals with epilepsy.

5. Avoid alcohol 

Alcohol consumption can have a significant impact on seizure thresholds, making individuals with epilepsy more susceptible to seizures. It’s crucial to be mindful of alcohol intake and its potential effects on seizure control. While moderation may be acceptable for some, complete abstinence from alcohol is often recommended to minimize the risk of seizures. Additionally, alcohol can interact with certain antiepileptic medications, affecting their efficacy. Open communication with healthcare providers about alcohol consumption is essential for individuals managing epilepsy.