Epilepsy Diagnosis

Epilepsy Information 2012

Epilepsy Diagnosis And What To Expect

When a loved one, especially those at a particularly young age are observed to be experiencing seizures, it is very important to seek out medical help for epilepsy diagnosis. Detecting epilepsy cases early on can make all the difference between proper treatment and allowing the illness to progress uncontrolled. This post outlines a few of the main diagnostic methods used to ascertain the existence of epilepsy or rule it out and proceed to determining what other diseases are causing the symptoms.

But before we go to epilepsy diagnosis per se, it would help to understand the general idea behind seizures and why epilepsy diagnosis ranks highly in the list of potential diseases that are causing the seizures to happen.

· In general, any seizure is caused by something that in turn is affecting the neural circuits in the brain. There is a very long laundry list of diseases that can cause seizures and knowing which is which can mean the different between treatment and irreversible damage.
· Specific to epilepsy, it is one of most easily diagnosed diseases that cause seizures; hence, it is also one of the first that can be tested or ruled out. Having said that, epilepsy diagnosis is definitely not a very easy task and it requires a battery of tests and painstaking data collection and observation before doctors can be sure of what they are dealing with.

So what are the diagnostic tools that doctors use to aid in epilepsy diagnosis? Here are a few of the most common that are easily recommended to help detect epilepsy.

· Medical and Personal History. This is not necessarily a test but it forms the foundation of all future tests to be conducted. At this stage of the diagnosis, personnel will ask you about the nature of the seizures you are experiencing, if you remember it being triggered by anything, if it has happened before, and the general feeling that you have prior to a seizure occurring. Likewise, doctors will ask for your family history when it comes to seizures as well as personal habits like drugs, or alcohol abuse that can be used to explain the seizures.
· Electroencephalogram (EEG). This test is used to measure the electrical activity of the brain while doing normal tasks or even at rest. Electrodes are connected to the patient’s head and these read the electrical signals that the brain is emitting. Any anomaly in the signals can be used as evidence to help in epilepsy diagnosis.>br> · Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or brain scans. An MRI is one of the most powerful tool available in medical science to look into internal anatomical structures that otherwise require dissection to be observed. An MRI can easily detect structural anomalies in the brain which can help to explain or confirm epilepsy. Any enlargement, abnormal placement of common structures, or mass formation help to collectively define the causes of the seizures.
· Blood Tests. While these are not the most reliable of methods when it comes to epilepsy diagnosis, these are helpful in testing for potential genetic carriers that can be causing the seizures.

In general, no single method can conclusively determine the existence or absence of epilepsy as well as confirm or rule out a specific type in case it does exist. Doctors will use many if not all tools at their disposal before they give a conclusive diagnosis. Hence, it is important to be patient throughout the whole process and to cooperate with doctors toe ensure that all data are properly collected to verify the illness.

Epilepsy diagnosis is a very important step towards detecting and potentially treating epilepsy cases so its value should never be underestimated by those who purport to know the reason behind their seizures. It can be a life-and-death situation and epilepsy diagnosis can spell all the difference between cure and death.