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Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes people to have recurring seizures. The seizures happen when clusters of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain send out the wrong signals. People may have strange sensations and emotions or behave strangely. They may have violent muscle spasms or lose consciousness.

Epilepsy has many possible causes, including illness, brain injury, and abnormal brain development. In many cases, the cause is unknown.

Doctors use brain scans and other tests to diagnose epilepsy. It is important to start treatment right away. There is no cure for epilepsy, but medicines can control seizures for most people. When medicines are not working well, surgery or implanted devices such as vagus nerve stimulators may help. Special diets can help some children with epilepsy.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Symptoms of Epilepsy

The following features are indicative of Epilepsy:
  • temporary confusion
  • staring spell
  • uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs
  • loss of consciousness or awareness
  • fear
  • anxiety
It is possible that Epilepsy shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.

Common Causes of Epilepsy

The following are the most common causes of Epilepsy:
  • mutation in SCN1B gene
  • head trauma
  • brain conditions
  • prenatal injury

Risk Factors for Epilepsy

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Epilepsy:
  • children and older adults
  • family history of epilepsy
  • head injuries
  • stroke and other vascular diseases
  • dementia
  • meningitis
  • seizures in childhood

Prevention of Epilepsy

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Epilepsy. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • prevent traumatic brain injuries
  • lower the chances of stroke and heart disease
  • wash your hands and prepare food safely
  • stay healthy during your pregnancy

Occurrence of Epilepsy

Degree of Occurrence

The following are the number of Epilepsy cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Epilepsy can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Epilepsy can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Epilepsy

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Epilepsy:
  • Electroencephalogram: To record the electrical activity of the brain
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan: To obtain the cross-sectional images of the brain
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): To create a detailed view of your brain
  • Positron emission tomography (PET): To detect abnormalities

Doctor for Diagnosis of Epilepsy

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Epilepsy:
  • Neurologist

Complications of Epilepsy if Untreated

Yes, Epilepsy causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Epilepsy is left untreated:
  • heart failure
  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • aneurysm
  • peripheral artery disease

Procedures for Treatment of Epilepsy

The following procedures are used to treat Epilepsy:
  • Surgery: To remove the area of your brain that's causing the seizures
  • Vagus nerve stimulation: Helps in preventing seizures by sending electrical energy through the vagus nerve to your brain
  • Deep brain stimulation: Prevent seizures by sending electrical pulses to your brain

Medicines for Epilepsy

Below is the list of medicines used for Epilepsy:

Self-care for Epilepsy

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Epilepsy:
  • Get enough sleep: Helps in preventing seizures
  • Take prescribed medication correctly: Helps in controlling seizures
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet: Helps emergency personnel know how to treat you correctly

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Epilepsy

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Epilepsy:
  • Use of ketogenic diet: Helps in reduceing the seizures

Patient Support for Treatment of Epilepsy

The following actions may help Epilepsy patients:
  • Educate yourself and your friends and family about epilepsy: Helps in understanding the disease
  • Find an epilepsy support group: To meet people who understand what you're going through
  • Try to ignore negative reactions from people: Helps in coping with the disease

Time for Treatment of Epilepsy

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Epilepsy to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

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Last updated date

This page was last updated on 1/04/2019.
This page provides information for Epilepsy.

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