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Lifestyle Changes to Manage Epilepsy

Here are some steps you can take to lower your risk of seizures:

  • Follow a sleep routine. Try to go to bed at the same time and sleep the same number of hours each day.
  • Do not drink alcohol. It raises the risk of seizures and causes problems with anti-epileptic drugs.
  • Always tell your doctors that you have epilepsy. Many medicines can cause problems.
  • Keep a seizure diary.
  • Go to all your appointments.
  • Talk to your doctor about a safe diet and exercise program.
  • Ask your doctor if it is safe for you to drive.
  • Ask your doctor if there are things you should not do, such as swimming or some work tasks.

Ketogenic Diet

In some people, mainly children, a eating foods that are rich in fats and low in carbohydrates may reduce seizures. This is called the ketogenic diet.

It forces a break down fats instead of carbs to give the body energy. It is often tried in children whose seizures are not helped by medicine. It is not known why it helps.

This diet is not easy. You will not be able to eat many foods. Children often stay in the hospital to start the diet. They must meet often with a doctor and dietitian. It may also cause:

  • Poor growth
  • Swelling of the pancreas
  • Build-up of uric acid, which can cause kidney stones or gout
  • A greater risk of heart disease

Epilepsy in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated November 9, 2018. Accessed March 26, 2019.

Epilepsy in children. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated March 22, 2018. Accessed March 26, 2019.

Epilepsy information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: Updated June 18, 2018. Accessed March 26, 2019.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). The epilepsies: the diagnosis and management of the epilepsies in adults and children in primary and secondary care. NICE 2012 Jan:CG137.

Seizure disorders. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: Updated November 2018. Accessed March 26, 2019.

Treating seizures and epilepsy. Epilepsy Foundation website. Available at: Updated: March 19, 2014. Accessed March 26, 2019.

Last reviewed March 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD  Last Updated: 3/26/2019