Dealing with declining physical and mental health is, unfortunately, a natural part of the aging process. However, some long-term conditions might be more impactful than others. And, if you have been diagnosed with epilepsy - or a seizure disorder - you might be dealing with significant changes in your lifestyle, living arrangements, relationships, and routine.
Nonetheless, with the right medical and emotional support system, you can enjoy a healthy, long, and fulfilling life. Unsure about what to expect from living with epilepsy? This guide can help you set out your expectations.
Partnering With a Specialized Neurologist To Properly Manage Your Seizures
In the US, around 1 million people aged 55 or older are affected by epilepsy. Indeed, while this condition can appear at any age, it is more commonly diagnosed in aging adults as a consequence of strokes, head injuries, brain tumors, and neurological diseases that affect how the brain works, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
What’s more, it is important to understand that over 80% of adults over 65 years of age deal with multiple health conditions at once, making it harder to balance epilepsy treatment with other medications.
Because of all of these implications, you should always start your journey toward a healthier life by consulting an experienced neurologist.
Getting To Know Your Epilepsy and Seizure Type
If you have recently been diagnosed with epilepsy, it is important to dedicate some time to finding the answers to crucial questions such as “what is epilepsy?” and “what type of seizures are there?”.
Over time, you’ll get to know whether your seizures are general or partial, and what symptoms they bring. This can help you adjust your life accordingly and become more familiar with your condition.
Learning What Triggers Your Seizures
Although seizures aren’t always preventable, there is a lot that you can do to stop them from happening - or, at least, go to a safe place before they happen.
To prevent medical emergencies and complications as consequences of a seizure you should:
Adapting Your Life To Stay Safe
Practicing mind-body exercises, reducing the levels of stress, dietary changes, biofeedback, and alternative treatments such as acupuncture can help you reduce the intensity and frequency of your seizures. What’s more, according to WHO studies, over 70% of those with epilepsy are able to live a normal life thanks to adequate treatment.
Nonetheless, you should try to adapt your life to avoid medical emergencies and injuries. For example, you might assess whether driving is still safe for you, whether you need a carer, or if you should consider moving into assisted living facilities.
Investing in Medical Alert Systems
Although no technology is able to accurately foresee seizures yet, there are many reasons why you should invest in a medical alert system. These devices can help you record details of your seizures, which is an important piece of information that your neurologist might use to design your treatment.
Additionally, if you live alone, medical alert systems can help you access medical care promptly and without delays, which is critical to prevent complications and injuries.
Keeping Your Communication Channels Open
After you have been diagnosed with epilepsy, your personal and emotional relationships might be affected. While these changes might feel bewildering at first, there is a lot that you can do to make the transition smoother.
Among the most important steps to take are informing your loved ones about your diagnosis, educating them about what epilepsy is and how it’s treated, and how to help you during a seizure. If you are struggling to face this challenge alone, speak to your neurologist and partner with an experienced mental health professional.