What Triggers an Epileptic Seizure?

Common Things That Could Lead To an Epileptic Seizure

Many different things can cause someone with epilepsy to suddenly have a seizure during the day. These triggers range from controllable actions like eating to unpredictable events such as lights flashing on a television screen. It is important to know what might cause a seizure so that you can be prepared to avoid the situation completely. Here are some of the main triggers for epileptic seizures.

Bright Flashing Lights

One trigger for epileptic seizures is bright flashing lights or combinations of lights. The exact combination is different from one person to the next. Triggers can include things such as police emergency lights, animations on television or even regular sunlight shimmering on water. Tests can be done to determine if an individual with epilepsy has this type of photosensitivity.

Not Sleeping Enough

A lack of sleep can be a powerful trigger for an epileptic seizure. This means that you did not get the proper about of deep, good sleep during the night leaving you with a feeling of tiredness when you finally wake. The problem is that sleep issues will change the pattern of signals in your brain. It also changes the distribution of hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain. These temporary changes can lead to a seizure especially if you have chronic sleep problems for several days in a row.

Large Amounts of Stress

Stress causes a large number of changes in the body. This is why it has the potential to trigger an epileptic seizure. Anyone with epilepsy who is under pressure constantly or even dealing with anxiety disorders has an above normal chance of having a seizure when tensions are high. This can be a real problem for individuals in fast-paced jobs or stressful households.

Low Blood Sugar

Your body is designed to operate with a certain level of glucose in your blood. Low blood sugar can occur when you are not eating right or have a condition like hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar can start to affect the normal metabolism and functioning of your body. It can cause hormonal and other problems that do not usually occur. This can actually result in an epileptic seizure if left unchecked. It is important to maintain a stable blood sugar level during the day when you have epilepsy.

Certain Times During the Day

Although the changes might be subtle or unnoticeable, your body does go through cycles throughout the day. The way your brain and body operate in the morning is different from how they perform in the evening. Those subtle differences are sometimes enough to bring on a seizure. Certain people are likely to have a seizure around the same time every day regardless of what else is going on at the moment.

Drinking and Drug Abuse

Drinking alcohol or using drugs will both alter the way your brain operates. These substances can inhibit signals in your brain, trigger production of unwanted hormones or spark signals that should not occur. The unusual and detrimental activity in your brain can cause a seizure to occur. The seizure could even happen after you are done drinking or using drugs as your body attempts to return to normal. It is always best to avoid drinking alcohol and using drugs when you have epilepsy.

Specific Foods

Eating various foods will start a series of metabolic processes in your body. These are designed to digest your food, extract vital nutrients and convert carbohydrates into energy or fat. All of those processes can affect your brain immediately after you eat. Some foods might have a larger impact on your body than others. This is especially true for foods containing high amounts of caffeine or refined sugar. Specific foods could cause large enough changes in your brain to bring on an epileptic seizure. It is best to avoid those foods once a problem is discovered.

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