skip to Main Content

Epilepsy is a chronic disorder that causes unprovoked, recurrent seizures. A seizure is a sudden rush of electrical activity in the brain.

There are two main types of seizures:

  • Generalized seizures affect the whole brain.
  • Focal, or partial seizures, affect just one part of the brain. A mild seizure may be difficult to recognize. It can last a few seconds during which you lack awareness.

Epilepsy is a fairly common neurological disorder that affects 65 million people around the world. In the United States, it affects about 3 million people. Anyone can develop epilepsy, but it’s more common in young children and older adults. It occurs slightly more in males than in females.

Epilepsy is a condition that causes people to have repeated seizures. But not everyone who has had a seizure has epilepsy. Problems such as low blood sugar or infection can also cause seizures. Other problems such as anxiety or fainting spells can cause events that look like seizures.

What are the symptoms of Epilepsy?

Seizures are the main symptom of epilepsy. Symptoms differ from person to person and according to the type of seizure.

  • Focal (partial) seizures – Its symptoms include alterations to sense of taste, smell, sight, hearing, or touch, dizziness, tingling and twitching of limbs.
  • Complex partial seizures involve loss of awareness or consciousness – Its other symptoms include staring blankly, unresponsiveness, and performing repetitive movements.
  • Generalized Seizures – This is a simple partial seizure doesn’t involve loss of consciousness. There are six types of generalized seizures.

Following a seizure, you may not remember having one, or you might feel slightly ill for a few hours.

Diagnosis & Treatment of Epilepsy

There’s no cure for epilepsy, but the disorder can be managed with medications and other strategies.

The right treatment for seizures depends on what is causing them. If you have seizures because of an infection, you will probably need treatments to get rid of the infection. On the other hand, if you have repeated seizures because of epilepsy, you will probably need anti-seizure medicines, also called “anti-convulsants.”

People sometimes need to try different medicines before they find a treatment that works well. Seizures can be hard to control. But if you work with your doctor, chances are good that you will find a treatment that works.

FAQS regarding Seizures

How are seizures treated?

The right treatment for seizures depends on what is causing them. If you have seizures because of an infection, you will probably need treatments to get rid of the infection. On the other hand, if you have repeated seizures because of epilepsy, you will probably need anti-seizure medicines, also called “anti-convulsants.”

People sometimes need to try different medicines before they find a treatment that works well. Seizures can be hard to control. But if you work with your doctor, chances are good that you will find a treatment that works.

Do anti-seizure medicines cause side effects?

Yes. Anti-seizure medicines can cause side effects. They can make you feel tired or clumsy, or cause other problems. If you are bothered by side effects, tell your doctor about it. He or she can work with you to find the medicine or dose that causes the fewest problems. Most of the side effects from these medicines are mild, but there are 2 rare side effects that are very serious:

  • Anti-seizure medicines can increase the risk of becoming suicidal (wanting to kill yourself). Speak to your doctor or nurse right away if you start to feel depressed or have thoughts of harming yourself.
  • Anti-seizure medicines can cause a rare but serious skin rash. Speak to your doctor or nurse right away if you notice a new rash while taking an anti-seizure medicine.

What if anti-seizure medicines do not work for me?

If you keep having seizures even after trying different medicines, you might have other options. Some people have surgery to remove the part of their brain that is causing seizures. Others get a device called the Vagus Nerve stimulator put in their chest that helps control seizures. Newer therapies like deep brain stimulation (DBS) and responsive neuro-stimulator (RNS) placements are also options at the Advanced Neurology Epilepsy and Sleep Center.

Until you have your seizures under control, do not drive. The laws that say when a person with seizures can drive are different depending on where the person lives. Ask your doctor if you can safely drive and about the laws where you live.

Also, if your seizures are not under control make sure to take other safety steps. For example, do not swim without someone else nearby who could help you if you started having a seizure. And avoid activities that could result in you falling from a height.

How can I reduce my chances of having more seizures?

You can:

  • Take your medicines exactly as directed – at the right times, and at the right doses.
  • Tell your doctor about any side effects, you may have. That way the two of you can find the best medicine for you.
  • Be careful not to let your prescription run out. (Stopping anti-seizure medicine suddenly can put you at risk of seizure.)
  • While on anti-seizure medicines, check with your doctor before starting any new medicines. Anti-seizure medicines can interact with prescription and non-prescription medicines, and with herbal drugs. Mixing them can increase side effects or make them not work as well.
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can increase the risk of seizures, affect the way seizure medicines work, and increase side effects from anti-seizure medicines.

What should my family members do if they see me having a seizure?

Ask your doctor what your family members should do. Some people will have seizures from time to time, and they might not need to see a doctor every time. But if you have a seizure that lasts longer than 5 minutes or if you do not wake up after a seizure, your family members should call for an ambulance (in the US and Canada, dial 9-1-1).

Your family members should not try to put anything in your mouth while you are having a seizure. But they should make sure you do not bang against any hard surfaces.

What if I want to get pregnant?

If you take anti-seizure medicines, speak to your doctor or nurse before you start trying to get pregnant. Some anti-seizure medicines can hurt an unborn baby. You might need to switch medicines before you get pregnant.

EEG

If you’ve had a head injury or are showing signs of a condition such as seizures or dementia, Aamr Arif Herekar MD Neurology, in El Paso, Texas, offers state-of-the-art electroencephalograms (EEG) to study your brain function. This non-invasive test can help Dr. Herekar diagnose your neurological condition and identify the best course of treatment to alleviate your symptoms. If you’re concerned about your neurological health, call Aamr Arif Herekar MD Neurology to make an appointment today.

FAQS regarding EEG

What is an EEG?

An EEG, or electroencephalogram, is a diagnostic tool that monitors and records the electrical activity in your brain. Your brain cells use electrical impulses to send messages both to other brain cells and throughout your body.

An EEG shows the electrical activity, so Dr. Herekar can look for abnormal activity and patterns. It’s a useful tool to diagnose brain disorders and the effects of head injuries. EEGs are noninvasive, safe, and painless. The test doesn’t include any stimuli such as flashing lights or sounds.

Why would I need an EEG?

Dr. Herekar uses EEGs to diagnose conditions, including:

  • Seizures
  • Concussions and head injuries
  • Encephalitis (brain inflammation)
  • Encephalopathy (a brain dysfunction disease)
  • Memory problems
  • Sleep disorders
  • Brain tumors
  • Stroke
  • Dementia

If you’re concerned about your brain health and are having symptoms of seizures, dementia, or sleep disorders, call Dr. Herekar to schedule an assessment. The more quickly you get a diagnosis and start treatment, the better your chances are of avoiding disruptive health problems.

How should I prepare for an EEG?

You have a consultation with Dr. Herekar before your EEG, and he gives you personalized instructions on preparing for your procedure. In general, you should wash your hair the night before your appointment and not put any styling products in your hair. You should avoid caffeine for at least eight hours before your test. Dr. Herekar provides instructions on whether you should take any medications or adjust your sleep routine before your test.

What happens during an EEG?

When you have your EEG, a technician attaches several electrodes to your scalp. The electrodes pick up electrical activity in your brain and transmit it to a computer, which measures and monitors your brain waves.

An EEG usually lasts for 30-60 minutes. You sit in a reclining chair or lie on a treatment table. Your technician may give you instructions to open or close your eyes or breathe deeply. If they’re testing for seizures, the technician may ask you to look at a flashing light or image. All of the EEG technicians at Aamr Arif Herekar MD Neurology are fully trained and can take immediate action to protect your safety on the rare occasion of the test triggering a seizure.

When your EEG is complete, your technician removes the electrodes. Dr. Herekar might review your results immediately, or you might have a follow-up appointment to discuss your EEG.

Call Aamr Arif Herekar MD Neurology to make an appointment today if you need expert neurological testing, including an EEG.