Refractory epilepsy, also known as drug-resistant or uncontrolled epilepsy, refers to the condition where drugs and medications fail to control seizures. This means you might have seizures and convulsions despite taking anti-seizure medications. In that case, your doctor may work out a special ketogenic or keto diet chart to bring your symptoms under control.
What is a keto diet?
The ketogenic diet is a special low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, which provides 3-4 grams of fat for every one gram of protein and carbohydrate. Usually, your body uses carbohydrates – bread, pasta, sugar – for fuel. However, since a keto diet is very low in carbohydrates, fats become the primary source of fuel instead. Your body works well on fats (ketones).
What Foods Should You Eat?
Ketogenic diet primarily involves eating many fats – about 80-90% of the calories you eat should come from fat-rich foods. Your diet will comprise of the following items –
Cottage cheese, cream and butter
Eggs, poultry and meat
Coconut oil/coconut butter, avocado oil
Low-sugar fruits - tomatoes, berries
However, you should discuss your diet chart with your doctor/nutritionist to understand if the foods mentioned above will affect your health in any other way.
How well does keto diet work for curing epilepsy?
Several studies state that the ketogenic diet does prevent or reduce seizures in people with refractory epilepsy. Although the diet is well suited for any form of epilepsy, it works best with certain myoclonic astatic epilepsy – Doose syndrome.
More than half of all children following a keto diet have seen a 50% reduction in the number of seizures. Most people, especially kids who strictly follow the diet for at least two years have good chances of becoming free from seizures. About 10-15% of children have been cured of epileptic seizures.
Refractory epilepsy is difficult to live with. You might be facing trouble at school, work, or even at home if the seizures do not stop. A high-fat keto diet can help control the symptoms. The ketogenic diet is tailored to each individual. Since it is low in nutrients, you might have to take supplements for vitamin D, calcium, folic acid, iron, and others. Speak with your dietician regarding the same. He/she will keep an eye on you as you start with the diet to ensure your stay healthy. Do follow up for regular check-ups every 1-3 months to check the progress of your condition.