Epilepsy & Seizure Care
Epilepsy & Seizure Care Overview
Epilepsy is a condition that results in unprovoked seizures. A seizure is a brief neurological event in which a "storm" occurs in the electrical system of your brain. Seizures may manifest different symptoms depending on the part of the brain affected, resulting in:
- Jerky, uncontrolled body movements
- Stiffening and shaking
Seizures can be brought on by certain conditions, such as acute head trauma or blood sugar fluctuations due to diabetes. However, if you have experienced two or more unprovoked seizures in your lifetime, you may be diagnosed with epilepsy.
If you experience a seizure, it is important that you visit a neurologist to determine the underlying cause or condition. Brain damage can sometimes result from frequent severe epileptic episodes.
To diagnose epilepsy, your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about any symptoms you are experiencing, including seizures.
Epilepsy causes both partial and generalized seizures. In a partial seizure only one portion of the brain is affected. This type of seizure sometimes only affects one half of the body.
Symptoms of a partial seizure may include:
- Emotional unpredictability
- Jerky bodily movements
- Staring off into space
- Sensory disturbances or hallucinations
In a generalized seizure, the entire brain experiences abnormal electrical activity. Episodes arising from generalized seizures can be more severe.
Symptoms of a generalized seizure may include:
- Collapsing to the floor
- Loss of bladder control
- Loss of breathing and responsiveness
- Stiffening and shaking
- Tongue biting, drooling, or foaming at the mouth.
- Uncontrollable screaming
Your doctor may also order diagnostic tests, including:
- Electroencephalogram (EEG) – a scanner which creates a map of your brain's electrical system. This allows the doctor to note the area and type of electrical abnormalities that are causing your seizures. You may be asked to stay for extended monitoring, since your brain function may appear normal when you are not in the midst of an episode.
The neurological and neurosurgical specialists at Aurora Health Care can help you manage epilepsy. They will work to create a personalized treatment plan based on your unique needs.
Epilepsy treatment options include:
- Medication to control epilepsy and reduce or eliminate seizures. These are especially effective in adults.
- Surgery, which may be necessary, as some types of frequent seizures can have severe and cumulative side effects.
Some children can outgrow epilepsy if it begins at a young age, but it is still important to have your child evaluated by a doctor if she or he has a seizure. At Aurora, our neurological specialists can help you pursue the best options to control epilepsy and prevent future seizures.
The Aurora Neuroscience Innovation Institute (ANII) brings together world-class physicians and cutting-edge technology. Learn more about ANII.