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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain that makes a person prone to seizures. A seizure is a temporary disturbance of electrical activity in the brain. Symptoms can include muscle stiffness, fits, twitching, blackouts, and abnormal sensations and emotions.
What are the causes and triggers of epilepsy?
In most cases, the cause of epilepsy is unknown. Other causes of epilepsy include structural abnormalities in the developing brain, brain infections such as meningitis and encephalitis, brain damage, a brain tumor, strokes and dementia. Drug or …
What are the different types of seizures?
Seizures can be divided into generalized seizures and partial (focal) seizures. Generalized seizures involve the whole brain. Partial or focal seizures are seizures that start from a restricted area of the brain. Partial seizures can be further …
Can someone with epilepsy have a baby?
Many women with epilepsy can become pregnant and have a healthy baby. However, women should tell their doctors if they plan a pregnancy, as close monitoring is needed. Medications may also need to be changed as certain antiepileptic (anti-seizure) …
How is epilepsy diagnosed?
Epilepsy is diagnosed by a description of the seizure from the patient and a witness. When someone first has a seizure, tests may be ordered to check for other conditions such as low blood sugar and low sodium levels that can cause similar seizures. A CT scan of …
How is epilepsy treated?
Most people with epilepsy are treated with anti-epileptic medications. Typically, a single anti-epileptic drug is given at a low dose. The dose is then gradually increased until seizures are well controlled. Other drugs may be introduced later on to better control …
Why would a doctor question a diagnosis of epilepsy?
Many conditions may appear similar to epilepsy, including fainting, transient ischemic attacks (mini-strokes), migraines and heart problems. These can be difficult to differentiate from epilepsy. If you do not respond well to …
About this article
Author: Karen McCloskey BHSc
First answered: 30 Nov 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.3 out of 5
Votes: 733 (Click smiley face below left to rate)