What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is something that causes the brain to start having seizures. The correct definition of Epilepsy is a neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain. There are a couple things you can do to control seizures. There are medications, which would needed to be taken daily. Surgery is another option, but there are few cases were surgery is used. There are also diets. If younger kids have epilepsy they might use the Ketogenic Diet. This is a very high fat, low carb diet. The diet works by reducing the number of carbohydrates a person eats, the body is forced to burn fat for energy, this process is called ketosis. This ketosis is the same process that kicks in when someone is fasting. The diet is designed different for each child that is on it; it is tapered to their height and weight.

Epilepsy can be a very scary thing, I have experienced this first hand as my younger sister has epilepsy. It was something very new and we didn’t know what to do, but we slowly got stuff figured out. She went on medication immediately. There are different medications in many different forms, examples are liquid, pills, and the diet. My sister has had all three of them. The medications would work for a couple months then they wouldn’t. After battling this for about a year, my parents and the doctors decided to put her on the Ketogenic Diet. This was of course very hard, all her food had to be weighed out and she couldn’t eat cake, chocolate or anything we would usually eat. She was on this diet for almost a year or so. Then one day she refused to eat it anymore, and my mom didn’t know what to do so, she just started giving her strawberries and other foods. She has been seizure free for about two and a half years.

About 0.6% of children ages 0 to 17  have active epilepsy. In 2013 they put this number into the population and about 460,000 children ages 0 to 17 have epilepsy.  There are about 150,000 new cases of epilepsy diagnosed each year, approximately  50,000 of these cases will be diagnosed in children under 18. The treatment all depends on the individual, and their needs.  You can either have it for a limited time are for the rest of your life. Most kids can out grow it, but some don’t.