Sunday, August 14, 2016

Decrease Seizure Frequency

Some people know what their seizure triggers are, and some do not. Some people do not even know what a seizure trigger is, while others are always looking for more ways to minimize their seizure activity.

Even the most knowledgeable may find some new information here, which can help decrease the frequency of seizures in themselves or a loved one, so read on my friends.

Top Seizure Triggers:
  • Stress
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Dehydration
  • Caffeine
  • Low blood sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Medications
  • Extreme Weather
Let's take these apart and tackle solutions one by one.

Stress- The number one seizure trigger by general consensus in every seizure support group is Stress. Stress has a domino effect- stress can release adrenaline, which can cause dehydration; stress can cause inflammation; stress burns up your B vitamins and magnesium very quickly. All of those things make you less able to cope with stress, which leave you feeling more stressed than you were to begin with! Aarg! What's a person to do?

Option One: Listen to Sound Healing on YouTube, headphones in, while you are not driving. This is my favorite one, it is an hour exactly, you will feel so stress free afterward, you will want to find me and hug me. I hug back.

Option Two: Listen to a Guided Meditation, this one is specifically for stress, to relax your mind and body. Also listen with headphones, and not while driving.

Option Three: Hypnosis for stress, also on YouTube; headphones and driving rules apply.

Option Four: Learn some Deep Breathing techniques to help relieve stress. This one is only 8 minutes long, and you can watch any time, any place.

Option Five: Learn How to Relax on my Pinterest board. Tons of great tips you can incorporate into your daily routine that will help keep stress at bay.

Option Six: Take a B complex vitamin and a Magnesium supplement to help you handle stress better. These are the key vitamins that you need to not feel as stressed, to not get stressed, and to calm down quickly when you are stressed. When it comes to the B complex, any brand you like is good- though if you're super stressed, look for a Stress Complex- you can find this in any grocery or chain store. When it comes to Magnesium, read the Mag blog, and know that Glycinate or Threonate are the best forms to specifically deal with stress. Odds are, you won't find these in a store- save some time and hassle and buy them online.

Sleep- Obvious answer is 'get more sleep' but it's not always that easy. Try some of the following methods to get more, better, and deeper sleep:

Option One: Turn off all electronics (phone, TV, computer) one hour before you'd *like* to go to sleep. So if you want to be asleep at 10pm, turn them off at 9pm. Many studies have shown that the light and stimulation from these devices affect your sleep patterns.

Option Two: Warm bath one hour before bed. Not a shower, a shower is stimulating, and not a hot bath, just a warm one. You don't have to wash if you don't want to, just soak in the warm water for 15 minutes.

Option Three: Consider shifting the times of your medications. Many medications can keep you awake- talk to your pharmacist and have them check your current medications, and see if there's a pm dose you can move to earlier in the day.

Option Four: Eye mask to sleep in. You may be super light sensitive and not even realize it, a mask will help it be dark enough to help you fall asleep.

Option Five: A guided meditation to help you fall asleep. Don't listen to this one while driving either.

Dehydration- A healthy body needs to drink half their weight (pounds) in fluid ounces a day. So if you weigh 200 pounds, you would need to drink 100 ounces. (convert weight to metric; convert ounces to liter) Now that's a perfectly healthy person, who does not smoke cigarettes, does not drink caffeine, does not drink alcohol, takes no prescription medications, and does not live in a dry/hot/windy climate. Cigarettes, caffeine (all types; coffee, tea, soda, chocolate), alcohol (all types), medications and harsh climate are ALL dehydrating. Your liver uses water to detoxify the effects of alcohol and caffeine- more water than the water content that's in the beverage. So every cup of coffee, soda, or beer, creates a negative water balance, leaving you slightly more dehydrated than you were before you drank it. Up your water consumption over the course of a few days to avoid throwing your electrolytes out of whack. Start by aiming for that half your weight amount, and increase it based on your other consumption patterns, and your thirst. If you feel thirsty, your body is thirsty for WATER, drink it. Here's a really great idea someone had to help increase their water consumption- after all, we are very visual and this may help you get that water you need.

Caffeine- I have yet to talk to a single person with epilepsy who handles caffeine well. It is a fact that caffeine lowers the seizure threshold. Try to stop, it's worth it. Keep other beverages handy, at all times- carry them with you when you leave the house for any reason. If you have that drink, you are less likely to succumb to the caffeinated beverages that are just everywhere. Juice, herbal tea, sports drinks, blends you make (tons of great beverage recipes on pinterest)- save a few disposable drink containers, wash them, and fill them ahead of time so there are always several handy for when you want a drink. If you cannot avoid caffeine, at least drink twice as much water as the caffeinated beverage you just had, to offset the dehydrating effect.

Low Blood Sugar- They are still studying before releasing official information on the connection between hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and seizures. Unofficially, this topic comes up in seizure discussion groups and is generally accepted as a known seizure trigger. Carry snacks with you at all times, in your car, purse, desk, backpack. Many people who have seizures do not feel a hunger signal, which can complicate this: solution, set a timer on your phone to remind you to eat. No surprise, there's an app for that. 

Alcohol- Ironically, it is not the drinking of alcohol that triggers a seizure, it is the sobering up. Avoid as much as possible, and drink twice as much water as you do alcohol to at least offset the dehydrating effects.

Medications- It seems most medications affect the seizure threshold! Blood pressure medications, antidepressants, antibiotics, even allergy pills can lower the seizure threshold. Don't check with the pharmacist on this one, unfortunately their databases do not carry information about the effect drugs have on the seizure threshold. Instead, check online, each med one by one, searching for the name of the med plus the phrase 'seizure threshold'. (EX: "does Wellbutrin affect the seizure threshold") Make note of which medications you are taking that lower the seizure threshold, and talk to your doctor about it. There may be alternatives that work just as well for your blood pressure, depression, allergies, etc that do not affect your seizure threshold. If you do change prescriptions for this reason, be aware that stopping a medication that affects the seizure threshold will definitely contribute to seizures while your body goes through withdrawal. However, the withdrawal period is generally a few days versus continuing to take something daily that adds to your seizures.

Extreme Weather- Too hot, too cold, high winds, high pressure systems all affect the frequency and severity of seizures. Since you can't argue with the weather, do what you can to work around it. Too hot, dip a bandana in ice water and tie it around your neck, or buy this cool fabric item that keeps your cool for twenty bucks. There's an electronic version for $50 at the Sharper Image, my friend used one at an outdoor weekend long event in the summer in Texas, and raved about it. In the heat, be sure to drink extra water, and have some good salt too, to replace what you sweat out (grey Celtic salt is good salt). Too cold, layer and wear a scarf over your face- it's the breathing the cold air that seems to cause the most problems. High pressure- nothing you can do about this one. High winds, I theorize the problems from winds are a combination of the pressure of the wind and the dehydrating effect; so drink up! Water may help, and in that vein, lotion and lip balm may help lock in moisture in your body to keep you from drying out as fast.

Top contributors to seizures:
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Parasites
  • Heavy metals in body
  • Mold exposure
  • Infections
  • Candida overgrowth
  • Lyme
  • Gallstones and/or Liver stones
If you've read my previous blog post, How I Manage Seizures Without Drugs, you know that I do not take AEDs, I treat solely with vitamins.  I have yet to meet or talk to someone having seizures who does not have one or more deficiencies. In my opinion, from all my research, VITAMIN DEFICIENCIES CAUSE SEIZURES. Period. That is the root cause.

There are So Many medications that deplete (lower) your vitamins, Especially Anticonvulsants!  Specifically, anticonvulsants lower your magnesium and B vitamins- the vitamins that prevent seizures. Or the lack of magnesium and B vitamins cause seizures, however you'd like to phrase it. So taking the drug requires you to take more of the drug. Diabetic medications lower B vitamins (especially Metformin), PPIs lower, almost all of the strong daily prescription drugs affect your vitamin levels. To check, do a quick google, "does Lamictal lower magnesium", for example, to check any/all meds you are on against vitamin deficiencies (you can replace magnesium with B12, calcium, etc; or just the phrase 'cause vitamin deficiency').

If you think you are getting enough vitamins yet still show signs of deficiencies, it is almost always due to damage of the intestines. This can be from surgery (C-section, hysterectomy, hernia, etc), injury, illness, heavy antibiotic use. It can be from Leaky Gut, Candida yeast overgrowth, toxic mold exposure, fungal infection, Lyme disease, Celiac, heavy metals (which damage gut), or parasites. In many (if not most) cases, it is more than one of these, sometimes ALL of these.

Your intestines distribute all of your vitamins throughout your body. They send vitamins and nutrients to the brain. Your intestines MAKE certain vitamins and hormones, so if they are damaged, the manufacturing stops and distribution is significantly impaired.

Once the intestines are compromised, it opens the door to other problems. Parasites eat holes in intestinal walls, leading to Leaky Gut, which leads to inflammation and compromised immune system, which leads to being very susceptible to mold & fungal infections, Lyme, Candida overgrowth, etc. It goes in all directions- Candida will also cause damage setting the stage for parasite overgrowth, and parasites carry and hold heavy metals; also, heavy metal exposure (mercury, lead, etc) will cause damage creating an environment conducive to parasite and Candida overgrowth. Any one of these issues can create the environment for all the others, it's a domino effect.

Stones in the liver and gallbladder are general created by a high toxin load; the irony is, the stones themselves then block the pathways which allow nutrients to be delivered and toxins to be eliminated. So again, domino effect.

This is already my longest blog, so I am going to come back with future blogs about how to eradicate parasites, Candida, Lyme, heavy metals, gallstones. In the meantime, you can start doing some healing of your gut today, which will help by naturally strengthening your body's defenses to these invaders. I have an entire board on pinterest devoted to Gut Health, where you can learn to make your own probiotics (good bacteria that strengthen your immune system and kill parasites and candida), bone broth (repairs gut damage), and so much more. Take some time to view this very important information, and I'll be back with more.*updated with link to the How To Kill Parasites blog.