400 avoidable deaths every year, what is being done?

 

The Good Life Letter 
25th July 2010

  • Get to know the truth about this serious
    neurological condition
  • Why is a proven diet the treatment of last
    resort?
  • How could you save a life on the bus today?


Lara had just walked into the room looking absolutely
white, and more than a little scared.

She is not easily shaken, so I feared the worst.

I sat her down and I gave her a strong sweet tea, and she
told me what had happened.

It seems that she had been round to a friend's house for a
coffee and a chat after our holiday.

Her friend's teenage son had just returned from
University, and was to be seen emerging from the kitchen
with plates stacked high with food every so often. Snacks
worthy of Scooby Doo and Shaggy.

But, on his final visit he had fallen heavily to the floor and
began to shake violently, then he started thrashing
around against the furniture and walls.

This was the effect of a 'grand mal' epileptic attack.
Even though Lara knew that this poor chap suffered from
epilepsy she had never encountered the devastating effect
of a seizure.

My own experience was a whole lot different.

I have several friends who have epilepsy to a greater or
lesser extent, one of whom was a drinking buddy at
university.

Martin would occasionally grab onto one of us at the bar
with an unmistakable look in his eyes.  He knew when a
seizure was about to strike, and he knew we had to look
after him.

I say look after him, but in reality we put him somewhere
safe, away from anything that could hurt him - and away
from curious eyes. Let him go through the throes of the
early, violent fit, and allow him to sleep.  Which he did
usually for 20 minutes or so, and then we took him home.

There was never any drama for us, but we often got
questioned about whether he needed an ambulance or a
doctor. In reality Martin had briefed us all on his condition,
and made it clear that as long as the normal pattern was
followed he didn't need anything other than the care
described above.

Mind you it didn't go down well one day in Tesco's in
Cardiff!

Around half a million people in the UK have been
diagnosed with epilepsy, in one or another of its forms.

The big problem is that epilepsy is often misdiagnosed,
and improperly treated. This makes for a REAL problem.

*************************************************
Why is diet the treatment of last resort?
*************************************************

If you are diagnosed with the condition, it's not the end of
the world.  In fact by discovering the appropriate
management technique you may not have another
seizure. Professor Stephen Brown of Peninsula Medical
School says that upto 70% of all people with a diagnosis
of epilepsy can avoid seizures in this way.

One part of the management is diet.

It is known as the ketogenic diet, which relies on eating
few carbohydrates and proteins and a high proportion of
specific fats.

The idea is to change the way the body gets its energy by
having to burn fats. When it does this there is an increase
in specific chemicals which help prevent seizures, known
as ketones.

This diet is used in all the specialist centres in the UK -
usually, however, only after at least two anticonvulsant
drugs have failed.

Now this seems the wrong way to do this, surely the diet
can work along with the drugs if necessary?

Why is it that, once again, an amazing and well-regarded
dietary treatment is used a method of last resort.... this is
typical of mainstream medicine as a whole.

For many diseases the drugs are pushed upfront, medicine
is always the first stop answer, while many natural drug-
free treatments are pushed under the carpet, or dragged
out when all else fails.

Of course there's a place for medicines and drugs, but
surely dietary measures should be recommended and
tried immediately. After all, this approach is the one to
place the patient at least risk.

There are many examples where specialised diets could be
used to boost people's chances of recovery and survival...
if only more ordinary people like you and I got to hear
about them.

For instance, in his book The China Study, T. Colin
Campbell makes the same point about cancer. He reveals
an overwhelming amount of evidence that shows diet can
hugely influence cancer prevention and survival rates.

Doesn't it seem sensible to you that a more rounded
approach to care should be taken, one that considers ALL
proven treatments? It seems like a rounded approach now
is only used to describe the shape of the pills offered!

************************
A bus life saver
************************

A report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Epilepsy
in 2007 stated that there were 400 AVOIDABLE deaths in
England alone each year.

400 people whose death was as a result of lack of
knowledge, misdiagnosis or poor quality care by heath
professionals and the public at large.

WHY isn't more done to help educate us all about the
condition? Think about it, if you were on the bus tomorrow
and someone collapsed to the floor and starting having
fits, would you know what to do? The statistics say that
one in every 20 people could have epilepsy, so you could
be sitting next to a Martin.

Just in case that does happen, here's a useful description
of what you should do:

http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/firstaid.html

 

 

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