If you are living with epilepsy, we know the uncertainty of when a seizure might occur can cause stress. Our physicians, who are specialists in epilepsy, understand the uncertainty created by your seizures and are ready to provide compassionate, comprehensive care to achieve your best quality of life. Using the latest treatments, we work with you to develop a customized plan to keep your seizures under control.
What Is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a neurological condition that causes recurring seizures because of abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
Seizures can vary significantly from one patient to the next. There are more than 30 types of epileptic seizures based on where they begin in the brain.
Seizures also can vary in terms of how much of the brain is affected. Partial seizures occur when the abnormal electrical impulse occurs in a limited area of the brain. General seizures happen when the electrical impulse spreads throughout the brain.
Seizure symptoms include:
- Auras: Changes in taste, vision or hearing often herald an oncoming seizure
- Loss of consciousness or awareness
- Staring into the distance
- Jerking, twitching or other involuntary movements
- Stiffening of the body
Evaluation and Diagnosis
Evaluation begins with a thorough exploration of your medical history, family history, epilepsy risk factors, and current and former medications. Your doctor may also suggest blood tests to look for infections or other conditions that could be linked to your seizures.
For a definitive diagnosis, our team uses EEG (electroencephalogram) to record your brain activity. For this painless test, small sensors will be attached to your scalp. The procedure helps us determine the type of epilepsy you have, as well as what may be triggering your seizures.
Other possible tests include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT), both of which can be used to take a closer look at your brain for lesions, tumors and other abnormalities that could be causing seizures.
Our goal is to help you achieve a seizure-free life, and our specialists understand that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach for treating epilepsy. Every patient is unique, so we will customize a plan that works for you using the latest treatments, including medications and surgery.
Two-thirds of epilepsy patients can gain control over seizures through medication, with no to minimal few sideeffects. There are several anti-epilepsy drugs available in the U.S. Our team works with you to find the option that’s best for you, using careful monitoring over time.
For patients who continue to have seizures despite trying two or three medications, the chances of becoming seizure-free with more medications is very low. Surgical treatment may be needed to stop seizures from recurring and negatively impacting brain functions.
Other Forms of Treatment
Vagal nerve stimulation can be successful for some patients. It involves implanting a device (like a pacemaker) under the skin of the chest and attaching it by wire to the vagus nerve in the neck. It sends mild electrical impulses to the brain, which can help regulate abnormal activity and prevent seizures.
Certain diets have been shown to help manage epilepsy in children and adolescents. This includes ketogenic, modified Atkins and low glycemic index diets. The ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet that puts the body in ketosis – forcing it to use fats, rather than carbohydrates, for energy.
Clinical Trials and Research
Clinical trials offer a way for you to take part in cutting edge research into new treatments for epilepsy. Our physicians are involved in trials testing new surgeries, treatments, medications and diagnostics.
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