Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is characterized by recurring seizures that are mot caused by obvious, external factors. While seizures sometimes occur after accidents, drug overdoses and other biological phenomena, patients who are eventually diagnosed with epilepsy generally cannot pinpoint the cause of their seizures. Because one-time seizures do not typically indicate epilepsy, health care providers treating patients who report a single incident may need to rule out other possible problems before making a diagnosis.
Diagnostic Tests for Epilepsy
Patients who have had one or more seizures should schedule an immediate appointment with their doctor; whether epilepsy is diagnosed or the seizures have been caused by something else, it is important to seek treatment. Most practitioners will run several tests to diagnose or rule out epilepsy, including PET scans, EEGs, and blood tests. Some doctors will even require patients to undergo a lumbar puncture; more commonly known as a spinal tap, this may prove to be the most invasive diagnostic procedure a patient experiences.
Specialists and Treatments for Epilepsy
Patients who have suffered seizures and seek answers from their family doctor may be referred to a specialist before or after being diagnosed with epilepsy. Once a general practitioner makes the referral, it is important to follow through with his or her instructions to see the specialist; whether patients in Queens are encouraged to see a doctor in Manhattan or a sufferer in Houston is sent to a neurologist in Katy TX, ensuring compliance with the doctor’s orders is a vital part of receiving the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Medication is the first line of defense for patients living with epilepsy, and recent advances in research have doubled the number of drugs available to treat the condition. In fact, there are currently twice as many medications available than there were just 10 years ago, including those that are specifically for children. Doctors with patients who respond poorly to medication may recommend a surgery in very severe cases of epilepsy. Brain surgeries for epilepsy are uncommon, and are generally used only in severe cases.
Careful Epilepsy Management Simplifies Life
While epilepsy is a serious condition that must be treated by a doctor to ensure that patients can continue to enjoy a high quality of life, managing it does not have to be complicated. Adhering to a prescribed care plan may make it easier to live with epilepsy.