Using the Ketogenic Diet to Reduce the Incidence of Pediatric Seizures: Helping Children and Families to Find a Better Quality of Life
TitleUsing the Ketogenic Diet to Reduce the Incidence of Pediatric Seizures: Helping Children and Families to Find a Better Quality of Life
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AbstractSeizure disorders have both medical as well as quality of life implications for anyone experiencing them. The use of medications to control and manage this disorder is not always effective and may cause side effects that discourage compliance with the prescribed drugs. All of these concerns are especially problematic for children with seizures and their families. The use of diet modifications to control seizures is showing promise as an alternative to medications. The high fat, ketogenic diet as well as the low glycemic index diet are being investigated to control seizures in children. A systematic review of the literature was done in the CINAHL Plus database. The themes identified across the studies are (a) the ketogenic diet was effective in reducing seizures whereas the low glycemic index diet was not; (b) compliance with diet changes is a significant concern in this patient population; (c) parents view quality of life differently than the children with seizure disorders and this can impact diet adherence; and (d) how this diet interacts with medications and alters other body functions must be considered when using the ketogenic diet for seizure management. These results indicate an opportunity for nurses to work with families and the health care team to reduce the incidence of seizures, improve treatment compliance, and enhance the quality of life. A treatment option which provides for the needs and desires of both the individual and the parents can strengthen the family unit and promote healthy outcomes for all.