Epilepsy, Symptoms, Investigations and Treatment

Epilepsy, also called seizure disorder, is a diverse group of neurological disorders of varying types and severities which are characterized by recurrent seizures. When a person has had two or more seizures which have not been provoked by specific events such as trauma, infection, fever or chemical change, they are considered to have epilepsy. An estimated 65 million people worldwide currently live with epilepsy.

Epilepsy Indicators

Seizures are the basic indicator of epilepsy. They vary widely:

  • Staring straight ahead, repetitive swallowing, and lapsing into complete immobility for a few seconds characterize absence (petit mal) seizures, which can recur many times in a day.
  • Tonic/clonic (grand mal) seizures, which usually last several minutes, typically begin with a loss of consciousness and a fall, followed by rigidity, then jerking motions and incontinence of urine. After the seizure ends, there is usually a period of confusion and deep sleep.
  • Repetitive lip smacking, aimless fiddling movements and a sense of detachment from surroundings may indicate temporal lobe seizures. They may be preceded by a vague feeling of abdominal discomfort, visual/sensory hallucination, and distorted perceptions such as déjà-vu (a feeling of familiarity or having seen something before).
  • Motor or Jacksonian seizures start with localized rhythmic twitching of muscles in a hand, a foot, or the face, which may spread to the whole body. Such seizures are often followed by a period of weakness or paralysis.

DiagnosisThe Doctor  will review your symptoms and medical history. He may order several tests to diagnose epilepsy and determine the cause of seizures. These tests can include:-

  • A neurological exam.Here, behaviour, motor abilities, mental function are tetsed to diagnose your condition and determine the type of epilepsy you may have.
  • Blood tests.Have to be done to check for signs of infections, genetic conditions or other conditions that may be associated with seizures.
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG).This is the most common test used to diagnose epilepsy. In this test, electrodes are attached to the scalp with a paste-like substance. The electrodes record the electrical activity of your brain.
  • A stock photo of a young woman having an eeg test
  • High-density EEG.In a variation of an EEG test, your doctor may recommend high-density EEG, which spaces electrodes more closely than conventional EEG . High-density EEG may help your doctor more precisely determine which areas of your brain are affected by seizures.
  • Computerized Tomography (CT) scan.A CT scan uses X-rays to obtain cross-sectional images of your brain. CT scans can reveal abnormalities in your brain that might be causing your seizures, such as tumours, bleeding and cysts.
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  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).An MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create a detailed view of your brain, lesions or abnormalities in your brain that could be causing your seizures can be easily detected by this test.
  • Functional MRI (fMRI).A functional MRI measures the changes in blood flow that occur when specific parts of your brain are working. Doctors may use an fMRI before surgery to identify the exact locations of critical functions, such as speech and movement, so that surgeons can avoid injuring those places while operating.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET).PET scans use a small amount of low-dose radioactive material that’s injected into a vein to help visualize active areas of the brain and detect abnormalities.
  • Single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT).This type of test is used primarily if you’ve had an MRI and EEG that didn’t pinpoint the location in your brain where the seizures are originating.

A SPECT test uses a small amount of low-dose radioactive material that’s injected into a vein to create a detailed, 3-D map of the blood flow activity in your brain during seizures.

  • Neuropsychological tests.In these tests, doctors assess your thinking, memory and speech skills. The test results help doctors determine which areas of your brain are affected.

Along with your test results, your doctor may use a combination of analysis techniques to help pinpoint where in the brain seizures start:

  • Statistical parametric mapping (SPM).SPM is a method of comparing areas of the brain that have increased metabolism during seizures to normal brains, which can give doctors an idea of where seizures begin.
  • Curry analysis.Curry analysis is a technique that takes EEG data and projects it onto an MRI of the brain to show doctors where seizures are occurring.
  • Magnetoencephalography (MEG).MEG measures the magnetic fields produced by brain activity to identify potential areas of seizure onset.

Accurate diagnosis of your seizure type and where seizures begin gives you the best chance for finding an effective treatment.

Once the required tests are done the Doctor will be in a position to specify which line of treatment should be taken. Whether medicines will suffice or a surgery has to be done.

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All the above tests are available under a single roof at Mahi Diagnostics, situated Opp. Picadilly Hotel on Kanpur Road in Alambagh.Please Call 4074409,8960844447 for any query.

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