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Staying Healthy with Epilepsy

Family riding bicyclesIf you have epilepsy, you are also more likely to have other health issues. Reduce your risk of other health problems by getting recommended screenings and services, eating a healthy diet, exercising safely, and managing your epilepsy well.

Epilepsy affects about 2.4 million adults in the United States. Research from CDC shows that adults with epilepsy often have other health conditions that also need to be managed.

Some of the health conditions that are more common in adults with epilepsy include high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, obesity, and history of stroke. Asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, migraine, arthritis and other pain are also more common in adults with epilepsy. If you have epilepsy, you must do everything possible to control your seizures, but don't ignore other health issues. Talk to your health care provider about all your health problems.

Stay up to date on your recommended screenings.

If you have epilepsy, take these steps to protect your health:

  • Get recommended screenings and shots: People with epilepsy need the same health screenings and vaccinations that people without epilepsy need. Healthfinder.gov provides an easy-to-use tool to get personalized health recommendations for people of all ages. To use this tool, click here.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which can improve health for everyone. To learn more about healthy diets, visit Nutrition.gov's Nutrition for Everyone site.
  • Be physically active: Regular physical activity is one of the most important things people can do for their health. People with epilepsy can often safely participate in physical activity – they just need to ask their health care providers to see what may be best for them. Read the Epilepsy Foundation article, Safety with Exercise and Sports, for more information.
  • Quit smoking: Quitting smoking has immediate as well as long-term benefits for everyone, including those with epilepsy. Smokers can receive free resources and assistance to help them quit by calling the 1-800-QUIT-NOW quitline (1-800-784-8669) or by visiting CDC's Tips From Former Smokers . Health care providers are also a good source for help and support.
  • Manage your epilepsy well: CDC and its partners have developed programs that can help people with epilepsy better manage their condition. For a list of available programs, visit CDC's Managing Epilepsy Well Network Web site.
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