Background: Several factors predispose people with epilepsy to cardiovascular diseases. Among them nutrition and lifestyle have not been sufficiently studied.
Methods. The study involved 60 epileptic male and female volunteers and 70 healthy controls, corresponding to age and gender. Medical information was collected during the study and a detailed questionnaire survey concerning eating and lifestyle habits was conducted. Physical activity was evaluated using International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ). Nutritional status was assessed by bioelectric impedance. Venous blood samples were taken for lipid and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3) analyses.
Results. A tendency to an increase in LDL cholesterol was found in epileptics. Significantly higher body fat and insignificantly higher visceral fat was found in epileptic men compared to healthy men. In epileptic women a tendency to lower lean body mass was found. Patients with epilepsy were more sedentary, had lower consumption of cottage cheese, fruit, pulses, nuts and seeds, vitamin C and potassium, and higher intake of sugar-sweetened soda, energy from fat and sodium compared to healthy people. As a positive point, epileptics consumed less coffee and alcoholic beverages. More than 80% of diets of epilepsy people were low in folic acid, vitamin D and calcium, but similar tendency was observed in the healthy people. The diets of patients with epilepsy were in a higher percentage poor in niacin, vitamin C and potassium compared to the control group, 25% to 7%, 50% to 31% and 73 to 56% respectively. A significantly lower serum concentration of 25(OH)D3 was observed in epileptic individuals, which in this group was found to be positively modulated by physical activity.
Conclusions. The study indicates that several behavior-related habits, which may predispose epileptic people to cardiovascular disease, need to be improved. For this reason, patients with epilepsy should be provided with more comprehensive medical care, including advice on nutrition and physical activity.