When our children bear a physical or mental challenge, it is natural for us to feel overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. Although it is a hard pill to swallow, understanding your child’s diagnosis and arming yourself with knowledge is key to making their life run as smoothly as if they never had to face such a challenge.
Epilepsy is one such challenging condition. Your first encounter with this neurological disorder can be terrifying, especially if you have witnessed your child having a seizure and did not realize what was happening. The good news is there are various ways medical professionals can treat childhood epilepsy so you can help your child lead the life they want.
The top four treatments for epilepsy
Currently, medical professionals opt for the following four methods to help patients with epilepsy:
- Prescibing anticonvulsant medications
- Recommending a ketogenic diet
- Vagal nerve stimulator
Various epilepsy medication options have been on the market for a while now. Statistics show that around 75 percent of children with epilepsy can control their seizures when they are prescribed medication. Although they are helpful, epilepsy medications such as Phenobarbital and Phenytoin can cause adverse side effects. Some children may lose their appetite or experience weight gain. Others can develop aggression, hyperactivity, or insomnia. In some cases, children have also experienced liver failure.
Recently, medicinal treatments for epilepsy were amplified with the introduction of a CBD-based drug known as Epidiolex, which the FDA approved. CBD comes from the Cannabis plant species by top companies selling delta 8 vape juice. This cannabinoid is remarkable because it is a non-intoxicating psychoactive. Hemp-derived CBD with less than 0.3 percent THC will not make you high. The risk of paranoia or overdose is non-existent too.
Research on CBD’s potential for epilepsy is significant. Researchers noted CBD’s ability to lower the risk of seizures. This natural compound was able to reduce the risk of attacks for patients suffering from two rare forms of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet’s syndrome. Indeed, Epidiolex is prescribed to children as young as two years old who have this rare form of epilepsy. Although CBD does come with side effects, including dry mouth, nausea, and diarrhea, this natural compound does not cause some of the adverse side effects of traditional epilepsy medication.
Finding the best CBD products is now a safe process, thanks to its legality in various countries. You can read a great review of CBD concentrates on understanding how to find high-quality CBD products. People are turning to CBD to treat multiple physical and mental health issues. This natural compound can alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms. It can boost energy in low doses and help you fall asleep in high doses. Some parents are even trying CBD to help their children with ADHD or autism with the guidance of a medical professional.
A ketogenic diet aims to deprive patients with epilepsy of carbohydrates, so the body releases ketones, a class of blood chemicals. Ketones can lower the risk of seizures in some individuals. Although it does work for some people, this diet plan is not effective in all cases. For a child to benefit from the ketogenic option, the parents must provide them with a high-fat diet.
The ratio required here is fat to carbohydrates and protein 4 to 1. Each meal must be weighed for the proportions to be correct. The parent must consider the carbohydrates found in the child’s medications and adhere strictly to the diet plan to be effective, which can be a challenge, especially if the child is a picky eater. Moreover, because the diet is low in fiber, children often experience constipation. The risk of kidney stones due to the keto diet is also higher.
Vagal nerve stimulator
The vagal nerve stimulator is a small battery-operated device implanted in the collarbone. The job of this stimulator is to send electrical signals intermittently to the vagus nerve, which are then transmitted to the brain. This device can also trigger alerts when they feel the onset of a seizure. The advantage of this device is the reduction of seizure frequency. However, medical professionals explain that it is not a substitute for epilepsy medication.
Some young children with epilepsy can be considered for surgery if they are suitable candidates. Surgery is only considered when the seizures interfere with the child’s quality of life. For example, seizures may be impeding the development of the child. Surgery would involve the removal of part of the brain, which comes with significant risks. Often, infants fare better after surgery than older children. However, the mortality rate during surgery is high.
Navigating your child’s diagnoses with various health professionals
Since there is no cure for epilepsy, finding the best treatment for your child is the best to guarantee a good quality of life. When it comes to treatment, you should not follow the first advice recommended by your doctor, especially if you are not sure what the person is recommending. In such cases, it is better to have a second and even a third opinion to understand your options and make the best decision for your child.