Epilepsy and seizures affect people of all ages and all walks of life. It can be a challenging condition to manage as it can be very unpredictable. This 2015 study describes the epidemiology of epilepsy and estimates that roughly, 2.2 million Americans and more than 65 million people globally experience epilepsy. At the Arizona Institute of Neurology and Polysomnography, we want to help our patients retain their quality of life and live safely.
What is a Seizure Disorder?
Seizure disorder is a broad term that’s often used in place of “epilepsy” to describe a neurological condition in which your brain’s normal electrical activity periodically misfires. This can cause the jerking, twitching, and uncontrollable movements people often associate with seizures.
However, seizures may also occur as periods of unusual behavior or loss of awareness (absence seizures), during which you may become unresponsive to your environment and simply stare off into space for a time. They may also manifest as repetitious lip-smacking or eye blinking or stiffening of muscles in your arms and legs that causes you to fall.
Having a single seizure doesn’t mean you have a seizure disorder or epilepsy. A high fever, stroke, or excessively low blood sugar may cause a one-time seizure. Non-epileptic seizures (pseudoseizures) can mimic an epileptic seizure but don’t produce abnormal brain activity.
Typically, you must have at least two unprovoked seizures, those not related to other conditions such as fever or stroke, before your doctor recommends further evaluation for epilepsy.
How is Epilepsy Diagnosed?
Your evaluation at the Arizona Institute of Neurology and Polysomnography always begins with a thorough exam, a careful review of your medical history, and a detailed discussion of your symptoms.
Depending on the results of the initial evaluation, Dr. Khan may recommend further diagnostic studies that typically begin with electroencephalography (EEG). This painless study records your brain’s electrical activity and remains one of the most important diagnostic tests we use in determining whether you have epilepsy and what type. It also helps identify effective treatment strategies.
An ambulatory EEG (aEEG) is another painless test that requires you to wear a small monitor and note seizures that occur as you go about your daily activities, so Dr. Khan can evaluate brain activity during these self-identified events.
A video-EEG aids in seizure classification helps calculate the number of seizures you’re having and provides insight about your awareness of the seizures. An ambulatory video-EEG combines both a video and EEG recording of seizure events
What is the Treatment for Epilepsy?
Effective treatments vary greatly from individual to individual and may include therapies that range from anti-seizure medication to surgical procedures. When necessary, Dr. Khan works closely with specialists, including neurosurgeons and physical, occupational, and speech therapists, to design individualized care plans for adults and children.
Want To Learn More About Seizure Disorders?
For outstanding seizure care you can trust, schedule a visit with Dr. Khan at the Arizona Institute of Neurology and Polysomnography. Call or book an appointment online today to take the first step towards a better quality of life.