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  • Seizures, epilepsy, and a natural solution

    Hi Everyone,

    It has been some time since I last posted but some things that are health-related have emerged over the last two weeks that bring me some concern. Here is my backstory:

    At age 16, I had my first untriggered seizure in my high school library. I was taken to the hospital and put on medication (trileptal and depakote), on which I stayed for three years. In those three years, I had about 6 other seizures. One day, I decided that I had enough; I wanted to take control of my health again and regain my natural equilibrium without the aid of chemicals that only slow down my cognitions and make me drowsy.

    One day, I decided I would stop with medications altogether (without letting my physician know). I did not let her know because I knew what she would tell me; all she really was doing was write me prescriptions. Also, because I was overweight at the time, I decided to change my complete lifestyle around, albeit with SAD methods that I know of at the time.

    That seemed to work for four years. I lost weight, was seizure free, and was very happy. Things started to change about a month and a half ago. Out of nowhere, I began to have very brief lapses where I could not fully comprehend what I nor others were saying (even thought I still produced coherent speech). Then, about two weeks ago, I was filling up the tank of my car and I got an aura that usually happens before a seizure; I awoke in an ambulance that took me to a hospital. My blood and urine tests were all fine with the exception of some dehydration. I thought that I was just fairly dehydrated that day because I spent an hour in the morning biking in the hot sun and perhaps did not drink enough water. That seemed plausible to me.

    Then, yesterday, I went to the gym; it was bench press day. I warmed up with an empty bar and got up to put weights on the thing. The aura hit me again, and I was afraid I'd have an episode. I woke up on the floor with paramedics over me, informing me that I had a seizure. Again, I was taken to the hospital. Same story: blood test and a CT scan revealed nothing wrong. They held me here overnight (I'm writing from my hospital room right now) and did an EEG this morning. Before the EEG, I spoke with a neurologist. No news there though. He told me I had epilepsy, which was a shocking thing to hear for me, and that I would need to go on medication. Anecdotally, I asked how the medications he recommended me work, and he said and I kid you not "I do not know."

    Why am I writing this to all of you, even in the somewhat wrong forum? First, I do not want to go on medication. That cannot be it. I cannot imagine that at 23 I would have to spend the rest of my life popping pills because the doctors cannot figure out what is wrong with me, or at least why these episodes occurred. Second, I want to see if any of you had similar experiences yourselves, or if you know of any people who have had such experiences, and whether you may be aware of natural treatments.

    Being primal is all about getting back to our natural balance and these seizures indicate that something is still off balance within me. This cannot be genetic because no one in my family has ever had a seizure. What baffles me is how I could go for so long without one, and on top of that, because I practice my primal/paleo lifestyle, and have been for quite some time now.

    Is there anyone here with advice, suggestions, recommendations (e.g., books or other sources), or anything else that can help me deal with this obstacle? Any help would be truly appreciated.

    Thank you!
    --
    Here it is, your moment of zen.

    It's a no brainer: The journal of the cerebelum

  • #2
    Sorry to hear that, man.

    Epilepsy just means you've had more than one unprovoked seizure in your life. You already knew that, so it's just referring to what you've already been through by a new name.

    The easiest way to determine the cause of your epilepsy would be to dissect your brain. Most people find this unpleasant. But the cause in most cases is a microscopic malformed circuit in the brain. These most likely occur during fetal development - a family history makes this more likely to occur, but is by no means necessary. Sometimes the signature of these can seen on an MRI, but not typically. This can also be identified through invasive monitoring, which involves sticking electrodes on the surface of the brain. This is typically reserved for cases where epilepsy surgery is being considered, in which the problem area is taken out of the brain (a very effective procedure, but for obvious reasons is reserved for cases where frequent seizures persist in spite of medication).

    The mechanism of action of many of the anti-epileptic drugs is well established. The precise mechanism of some, particularly the new agents, is not (I'll take a guess that the medication you were prescribed was Keppra). Though they clearly reduce seizure frequency.

    For kids with terrible, impossible to treat epilepsy, the most effective solution is a ketogenic diet. It outcompetes any drug. It's only done in extreme circumstances in kids, and isn't recommended to adults because it's considered "unhealthy". Folks here know this to be false. If I had epilepsy, I'd try to stay in ketosis.
    sigpic

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    • #3
      sorry for the slight tangent but one of my dog has seizures. hes on 2 different medications. i dont know if the causes are similar for humans and canines but the treatment seems to be from what i have been told.
      Primal Chaos
      37yo 6'5"
      6-19-2011 393lbs 60" waist
      current 338lbs 49" waist
      goal 240lbs 35" waist

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      • #4
        If I had epilepsy, I'd try to stay in ketosis.
        +1
        ...how do you look, feel, and perform? -- Robb Wolf

        My Blog.

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        • #5
          I have read somewhere that they are treating children with epilepsy with low carb diets. My brother has horrible grand mal seizures. I'll see if I can find any of the websites about it.
          Had no idea I was so weak till I started walking in October. Could barely make it around the block!
          Now can walk on the beach for hours.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by kaylakala View Post
            I have read somewhere that they are treating children with epilepsy with low carb diets. My brother has horrible grand mal seizures. I'll see if I can find any of the websites about it.
            Yes, that's the ketogenic diet I was referring to in my previous post.
            sigpic

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            • #7
              Exactly there's ton on the internet!!! Here's just one!! me n my brother were just talking about it the other night.

              Atkins for Seizures - Managing Epilepsy with the Atkins Diet
              Had no idea I was so weak till I started walking in October. Could barely make it around the block!
              Now can walk on the beach for hours.

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              • #8
                Most of the latest research on adult epilepsy and the ketogenic diet is coming out of John's Hopkins. Google JH+keto.

                I started having seizures when I was 22 and I am now 49. I have had periods of being medicated and periods of telling the doctors to stuff their medications and going without. I have finally found a good combination of meds that works for me (zero seizures in 5 years). Taking meds is not the end of the world. You just have to find the ones that work best for you. There is a wide range of meds available but different people will have different success levels and different adverse reactions with each.

                That said, I agree that the less meds needed the better. This is the whole reason I found PB in the first place, looking for an all natural keto diet (no Atkins franken-bars). I am hoping to be able to gradually reduce my dosage. You should never just chuck the pills and go from full dose to zero. That transition is very hard on your body (and could very well trigger a seizure in and of itself).

                Let me know if I can help or answer any questions.


                Robin

                p.s. Nobody in my family ever had a seizure either. Not really a big factor in determining who gets them.

                Also, once they rule out all the structural causes like brain tumors, blood vessel malformations, traumatic injury leaving scarring on the inside of the skull,etc. most seizures are what the doctors call "idiopathic" which is how to sound learned and medical while saying, "I don't have a fricking clue".
                Last edited by Paleobird; 06-24-2011, 11:07 AM.

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                • #9
                  My sister used to have grand mal seizures when younger. Now they are shorter 30 second ones where she sighs or pants. She is on lamictal and tegeratol. I can't get her in ketosis since she loves carbs a bit too much. Hard to convince her too. She does understand that sugar is bad but still eats it.
                  My journal where I attempt to overcome Chrohns and make good food as well

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                    Most of the latest research on adult epilepsy and the ketogenic diet is coming out of John's Hopkins. Google JH+keto.

                    I started having seizures when I was 22 and I am now 49. I have had periods of being medicated and periods of telling the doctors to stuff their medications and going without. I have finally found a good combination of meds that works for me (zero seizures in 5 years). Taking meds is not the end of the world. You just have to find the ones that work best for you. There is a wide range of meds available but different people will have different success levels and different adverse reactions with each.

                    That said, I agree that the less meds needed the better. This is the whole reason I found PB in the first place, looking for an all natural keto diet (no Atkins franken-bars). I am hoping to be able to gradually reduce my dosage. You should never just chuck the pills and go from full dose to zero. That transition is very hard on your body (and could very well trigger a seizure in and of itself).

                    Let me know if I can help or answer any questions.


                    Robin

                    p.s. Nobody in my family ever had a seizure either. Not really a big factor in determining who gets them.

                    Also, once they rule out all the structural causes like brain tumors, blood vessel malformations, traumatic injury leaving scarring on the inside of the skull,etc. most seizures are what the doctors call "idiopathic" which is how to sound learned and medical while saying, "I don't have a fricking clue".
                    Well said.

                    (and if patients would just let us dissect their brains, then their epilepsy wouldn't be "idiopathic". but alas...)
                    sigpic

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jturk View Post
                      Well said.

                      (and if patients would just let us dissect their brains, then their epilepsy wouldn't be "idiopathic". but alas...)
                      You're a neurologist?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                        Most of the latest research on adult epilepsy and the ketogenic diet is coming out of John's Hopkins. Google JH+keto.

                        I started having seizures when I was 22 and I am now 49. I have had periods of being medicated and periods of telling the doctors to stuff their medications and going without. I have finally found a good combination of meds that works for me (zero seizures in 5 years). Taking meds is not the end of the world. You just have to find the ones that work best for you. There is a wide range of meds available but different people will have different success levels and different adverse reactions with each.

                        That said, I agree that the less meds needed the better. This is the whole reason I found PB in the first place, looking for an all natural keto diet (no Atkins franken-bars). I am hoping to be able to gradually reduce my dosage. You should never just chuck the pills and go from full dose to zero. That transition is very hard on your body (and could very well trigger a seizure in and of itself).


                        Let me know if I can help or answer any questions.


                        Robin

                        p.s. Nobody in my family ever had a seizure either. Not really a big factor in determining who gets them.

                        Also, once they rule out all the structural causes like brain tumors, blood vessel malformations, traumatic injury leaving scarring on the inside of the skull,etc. most seizures are what the doctors call "idiopathic" which is how to sound learned and medical while saying, "I don't have a fricking clue".
                        Thanks for your insights Robin! Imagree that a drastic end to a medicinal regiment is never a solid option. Several years ago, when I was taking Trileptal and Depakote, I went off those pills gradually over time. Everything was going fine until now, which equals to about 4 seizure free, pill free years. The neurologist in the hospital where I was taken prescribed me a drug called Keppra. I took it for the first time today.

                        My hope is that I do not stay on medications forever. I do not believe that the reason for my recent seizure will forever be a mystery. My mother suggested homeopathic treatments, and a homeopathic doctor whom she knows spoke with me today and recommended that I take a good multivitamin alongside alpha-lipoic acid and a b vitamin supplement. I will also be taking ginko just in case. I want to also reduce my carbs. I increased my carbs over the last few months as inhave been training harder.
                        --
                        Here it is, your moment of zen.

                        It's a no brainer: The journal of the cerebelum

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                        • #13
                          if you are looking for some more anecdotal information about diet and supplements you can take, dogtorj.com is pretty interesting. Good luck.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                            You're a neurologist?
                            among other things...
                            sigpic

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by fitmom View Post
                              if you are looking for some more anecdotal information about diet and supplements you can take, dogtorj.com is pretty interesting. Good luck.
                              Interesting. What this guy promotes is basically a primal/paleo lifestyle (minus the emphasis on limiting carbs in general). Out of all those, I have never stopped eating yogurts and cheeses (including cottage cheese). I also do drink diet soda from time to time (aspartame). Perhaps my diet needs to be re-evaluated again? In all honety, especially now that many of my favorite fruits are in season (cherries being the ultimate), it will be difficult to go ketogenic but I also understand that if that is the best solution, I will suck it up and do it.
                              --
                              Here it is, your moment of zen.

                              It's a no brainer: The journal of the cerebelum

                              Comment

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