Epilepsy Talk

Epilepsy and Diabetes — Confusion or Common Cure? | April 18, 2023

A seizure can be quite serious and can be a scary experience for not just the person experiencing it but for the people around them.

While seizures are caused due to many reasons, one of the prime reasons for a seizure to occur is when people have epilepsy.

Among those types of seizures are diabetic seizures, which can sometimes turn into an emergency quite quickly.

Proven to be fatal in nature, a diabetic seizure is a serious medical condition that is caused due to extremely low levels of blood sugar. 

Alternately, extremely high blood sugar levels in the brain can cause hyper-excitability of the neurons, thus leading to a short circuit in the brain and seizures.

New research reveals approximately 25% of patients with diabetes experience different types of seizures.

People with hypoglycemic (low blood pressure) tend to have tonic-clonic seizures…

Alternately, those with hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) tend to have focal or local seizures.

Conversely, some patients and even some doctors disagree, there’s really not much difference between a diabetic seizure and an epileptic seizure.

While the symptoms are generally the same — there is one very significant difference — the blood sugar irregularities which can cause a diabetic seizure can also cause the diabetic patient to lapse into a coma.

One dilemma facing both types of seizures are their origin. 

If the seizures are caused by blood sugar fluctuations, treatment with anti-seizure drugs which address electrical impulses in the brain are addressing the wrong problems.

Yet we all know that diet plays an important part in controlling epilepsy.

Interestingly enough, initial testing shows that a diabetes drug widely used to help diabetics manage their condition could also become recognized as an effective and secure way of treating epilepsy.

According to reports, Metformin (known as Glucophage) could be particularly useful in treating those epilepsy patients who are drug resistant.

Glucophage, a popular oral drug for type 2 diabetes, helps lower blood sugar levels by improving the way the body handles insulin.

Much like the Ketogenic Diet which treats epilepsy by minimizing levels of dietary starch and sugar.

A team headed up by Dr. Avtar Roopra found that Glucophage was able to turn on a molecule that regulates energy, and then found that they could suppress over-active nerve cells by inhibiting the transfer of sugar into excess energy.

The goal is to reduce the rate of epilepsy but not enough to affect the brain’s ability to learn and remember.

Further research is continuing, but what has shown as a successful treatment for diabetes could also bring new hope to those with epilepsy.

I’d call that a win-win for the two “kissing cousins!”

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  1. Thanks for this info. I will be taking this article to the new dr.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by veronique — April 18, 2023 @ 11:09 AM

  2. Wow this is great info. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by michellerivero — April 21, 2023 @ 10:06 AM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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