|All about epilepsy seizures types of epilepsy common types of epilepsy types of seizures causes of epilepsy causes of children epilepsy factors triggering epilepsy symptoms of epilepsy diagnosis of epilepsy treatments for epilepsy epilepsy medications epilepsy surgery vagus nerve stimulation epilepsy diet prevention of epilepsy epilepsy in children pregnancy and epilepsy difference between seizures and epilepsy grand mal seizure absence seizure (petit mal seizure) febrile seizure epileptic seizures status epilepticus causes of seizures
How is epilepsy diagnosed?
To diagnose epilepsy, a doctor will study the patient’s history, do thorough physical and neurological evaluations and run a variety of tests. What happens just before a seizure, during a seizure and right after a seizure can help the doctor make a diagnosis. Taking a medical history can help rule out non-epilepsy conditions that might have caused the seizures. Making an accurate diagnosis is vital in planning the correct treatment to control seizures. Misdiagnosis followed by the
wrong treatment is one reason why people sometimes keep having seizures. Inappropriate treatment also results in unnecessary side effects from medication. However, diagnosing epilepsy can be difficult, and the doctor needs to determine:
Routine lab tests may be done to check for other medical conditions that might be causing the seizures. Complete blood counts (CBC) can be used to check for infection, abnormal electrolyte levels (such as magnesium, potassium and calcium), signs of kidney or liver malfunction and other common problems. A lumbar puncture (sometimes called a spinal tap) rules out infections, such as meningitis and encephalitis. Toxicology screenings for poisons, illegal drugs or other toxins are also applied.
The EEG is a record of the patient’s electrical brain activity. It is carried out by placing an array of electrodes on the patient’s scalp, held temporarily in place with an adhesive. Disturbance of brain waves can provide significant clues to the nature of an epileptic syndrome. An outpatient EEG recording usually takes up to 1-2 hours. The yield of information increases if a sleep recording can also be obtained. To facilitate this, we recommend that the woman limit the patient’s sleep to 4-6 hours during the previous 24 hours. This enables the patient to fall asleep during the recording.
Video and EEG monitoring can be performed at the same time to record seizures on videotape and computer so that the doctor can see what happens just before, during and right after a seizure. The video records what the body is doing, and the EEG records the electrical activity occurring in the brain. Such monitoring may be used prior to surgery or when repeated EEG tests have not provided enough clues as to the type of seizure or to diagnose psychogenic seizures.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans may be used to evaluate the cause and the location of a possible source of epilepsy within the brain. The scans can reveal scar tissue, tumors or structural problems in the brain. These tests also may be used before epilepsy surgery to pinpoint the exact location of a problem in the brain.
More information on epilepsy (seizures)
What is epilepsy? - Epilepsy is a general term that includes various types of seizures. Epilepsy is characterized by unprovoked, recurring seizures that disrupt the nervous system.
What are seizures? - Seizures (or convulsions) are temporary alterations in brain functions due to abnormal electrical activity of a group of brain cells that present with apparent clinical symptoms and findings.
What types of seizures are there? - The two main categories of seizures include partial seizures and generalized seizures. A partial seizure can evolve to a generalized seizure.
What types of epilepsy are there? - There are several types of epilepsy. Epilepsy can be divided into two broad categories: idiopathic epilepsy and symptomatic epilepsy.
What're the common types of epilepsy? - The most common types of epilepsy are absence epilepsy, temporal lobe epilepsy, frontal lobe epilepsy, occipital lobe epilepsy, and parietal lobe epilepsy.
What causes epilepsy? - Epilepsy may be caused by a number of unrelated conditions, including damage resulting from high fever, stroke, toxicity, or electrolyte imbalances.
What causes children epilepsy? - There are many possible causes of epilepsy in children. Seizures in infants and children may be due to birth defects, difficulties during delivery, or poisoning.
What factors will trigger epilepsy? - The triggers of epilepsy include inadequate sleep, food allergies, alcohol and smoking, flashing lights, developmental anomalies, and brain tumours.
What're the symptoms of epilepsy? - There are many forms of epilepsy, each with its own characteristic symptoms. The basic symptom of epilepsy is a brief and abnormal phase of behavior.
How is epilepsy diagnosed? - Making an accurate diagnosis is vital in planning the correct treatment to control seizures. Taking a medical history can help rule out non-epilepsy conditions.
What're the treatments for epilepsy? - For most people with epilepsy, treatment can reduce or prevent seizures and allow many patients to remain free of seizures for the rest of their lives.
What epilepsy medications are available? - Epilepsy is often treated with medication, neurocybernetic prostheses. Medications available for the treatment of seizures include phenytoin, carbamazepine, divalproex.
What epilepsy surgeries are available? - Surgical techniques to remove injured brain tissue may be appropriate for many patients with epilepsy. The most common surgery for epilepsy is temporal lobectomy.
What is vagus nerve stimulation? - Vagus nerve stimulation is a recently developed form of seizure control which uses an implanted electrical device.
What epilepsy diet is suggested? - It is believe that a restricted caloric intake while on a balanced diet can lead to measurable seizure reduction among all age groups.
How to prevent epilepsy? - Effective actions for the prevention of epilepsy include adequate pre-natal and post-natal care, safe delivery, control of fever in children, control of parasitic diseases.
Epilepsy in children - Epilepsy is a common childhood disorder. The prospect of control by means of anti-epileptic drugs is good in most children with epilepsy.
Pregnancy and epilepsy - Women with epilepsy who become pregnant have a higher risk for complications than women who don't have epilepsy.
Difference between seizures and epilepsy - Seizures are a symptom of epilepsy. Epilepsy is the underlying tendency of the brain to produce a sudden burst of electrical energy.
What's a grand mal seizure? - A grand mal seizure is a seizure involving the entire body, usually characterized by muscle rigidity, violent rhythmic muscle contractions, and loss of consciousness.
What's absence seizure (petit mal seizure)? - Absence seizure e - also known as petit mal seizure - is a type of seizure that most often occurs in children.
What is a febrile seizure? - A febrile seizure is a convulsion in a child triggered by a fever. A febrile seizure may be as mild as the child's eyes rolling or limbs stiffening.
What are epileptic seizures? - An epileptic seizure, often referred to as a fit, occurs when there is an abnormal discharge of neurones in the brain.
What is status epilepticus? - Status epilepticus is a continuous seizure state. Status epilepticus is most often caused by not taking anticonvulsant medication as prescribed.
What causes seizures? - Seizures may be caused by many conditions, diseases, injuries, and other factors. Injuries that may cause seizures include choking, head injury.