OTHER APPROACHES TO EPILEPSY THERAPY: THE KETOGENIC DIET – WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS OF THE KETOGENIC DIET? IS THE DIET ALWAYS A LAST RESORT TO CONTROL SEIZURES?
“What are the complications of the ketogenic diet?”
During the starvation phase of the diet, the child’s blood sugar may drop, with symptoms like weakness, dizziness, paleness, sweating, and sleepiness. If these occur, it is imperative to measure the blood sugar and to give a small amount of glucose before continuing starvation. We have mentioned that supplementary vitamins and calcium are needed to prevent deficiencies. Your child should gain little weight on the diet if it is properly calculated, and growth may be slightly slowed. However, both will catch up when the diet eventually is discontinued. Despite the high fat content, the diet does not appear to cause atherosclerosis. Kidney stones can occur, but may be prevented by appropriate fluid intake.
“Is the diet always a last resort to control seizures?”
This diet has been used mainly as a last resort. However, since it is so effective when nothing else works, perhaps it should be used earlier in the course of epilepsy, if you and your child are willing to try it as an alternative to medication.
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