Stupid Swimming!

I’ve always loved swimming laps for exercise.  I was on the swim team in high school but at that point I was only dealing with very minor absence seizures and swimming was safe and fun.  Recently (approximately 25 years after high school) I decided I would like to try swimming again.  I wanted to be safe so I brought my mom with me to the pool as my own personal lifeguard.  One day I thought I felt an aura but I wasn’t sure so I kept swimming.  Next thing I knew, I was in the ambulance.  My mom, age 70, saw me have a seizure while swimming and jumped into the pool to save me from drowning.  Multiple things were going through my mind for the next couple of weeks.  I was scared that I could have easily died through drowning.  Also, the guilt that my moms life was at risk because of my stupid decision to keep on swimming.  That aura I felt should have been enough to get me out of the pool.  If  you feel an aura, or even think you do…get out!

Who are you?

Always keep your identification with you in case of emergency.  I highly suggest an ID tag (see brands below) which includes your name, health conditions, medication, allergies, and emergency contacts.  These are often sold as bracelets, necklaces, or shoe clips. Suggestions of medical ID brands:

  • Road ID (I personally use and love!)
  • Medical Alert
  • American Medical ID

Working Out

Exercise can provide huge emotional and physical benefits for people living with and without epilepsy.  Rather than triggering a seizure, your epilepsy tends to improve with exercise. Improvements for epileptics may include:

  • Seizure control
  • Quality of life
  • Memory
  • Depresion
  • Anxiety
  • Self esteem and social integration

Regardless of the improvements exercise offers, with epilepsy there are many risky activities we should not do.  Think realistically and find a routine that is safe and enjoyable! Always use the buddy system and bring a friend who knows you have seizures.  Some risky routines include:

  • Contact sports
  • Scuba diving
  • Mountain Climbing
  • Motor Sports
  • Horseback riding
  • Gymnastics
  • Ice activities such as skating or hockey

Diets for Epileptics

Dietary treatments for epilepsy must only be followed with help from an epilepsy specialist and dietitian.  Personally I have not tried the “Ketogenic” diet (see info below) but I do find that with more sugar in my diet, I tend to have more seizures.  Also, after a seizure my palate adjusts and I cannot eat surgery foods.  A balanced diet can be very important for those suffering with epilepsy.  A diet high in sugar is known to cause energy peaks which can be seizure triggers.

The ketogenic diet has been curbing seizures for children since it was first developed in the 1920s. About half of kids who follow this diet have a reduction in seizures.  As many as 1 in 7 become seizure free.  This is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet that is considered for children who have tried multiple medications without success.

More recent studies show that this diets can be helpful in adults as well, but there is very little information on this.  These studies show that the Ketogenic diet, as well as the Atkins diet, may be an option for adults in the future.