Diet & Exercise
What does “healthy living” mean to you?
People think of different things when they hear the term “healthy living.” Many people with epilepsy report good health despite their seizures. Others find that seizures affect their overall health in a number of ways. For example,
- Seizures could lead to injuries and accidents, such as broken bones, head trauma, or pneumonia.
- Some side effects of seizure medications can affect thinking, mood, bone health, or other body systems.
- Other conditions associated with epilepsy can cause more problems than the seizures.
How “healthy” are people living with epilepsy?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other researchers have been looking at the health of people with epilepsy and found some startling numbers. These studies looked at people with “active epilepsy” – defined as taking seizure medication for epilepsy or having a seizure within the past year– compared to people with a history of epilepsy or no epilepsy
Adults with active epilepsy are
- More likely to have unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking cigarettes, being less active, and sleeping less than people without epilepsy.
- More likely to have other chronic health problems and report poor health
- More likely to report problems affecting their mood or emotional health, thinking or cognition, and ability to work
- More likely to report unhealthy days if they have had 1 or more seizures in the past 3 months
- Movement and using their hands
How does your overall health impact your seizure control?
- Other illnesses or treatments for other health conditions can make a person more likely to have a seizure. Paying attention to these seizure triggers is an important part of seizure management.
- Other illnesses can affect a person’s safety or make them at greater risk of injury from falls with seizures. Assessing your overall health should be part of knowing one’s risks and developing safety plans.
Help with Healthy Living is Here
The Epilepsy Foundation wants to raise awareness about the importance of healthy living for your overall wellness, as well as improving seizure control. Getting or keeping healthy is part of self-management or taking care of yourself.
This section addresses key components of wellness that are similar across many chronic health problems. The areas of diet and nutrition, fitness and exercise, sleep, stress, and emotional health are highlighted to help you take action for your health.
You’ll find more information about managing work, play, school, finances, and more under our Independent Living section.
Epilepsy centers provide you with a team of specialists to help you diagnose your epilepsy and explore treatment options.
Find in-depth information on anti-seizure medications so you know what to ask your doctor.
Epilepsy and Seizures 24/7 Helpline
Call our Epilepsy and Seizures 24/7 Helpline and talk with an epilepsy information specialist or submit a question online.
Tools & Forms
Download our seizure tracking app, print out seizure action plans, or explore other educational materials.