Exams and Tests
The first task facing the doctor is to decide if the event was a seizure or some other condition, such as fainting, that may mimic a seizure.
- The doctor will take a history about the facts that surrounded the event. Any eyewitness accounts will be very helpful. Family history, social history, and past medical history are important as well.
- Bring any medicine containers, including prescription drugs, to the hospital to help the doctor make the diagnosis.
- A neurological examination will be performed. This may include some tests not usually performed in other physical examinations, such as strength and reflex testing.
- Depending on the history and physical examination, laboratory work may be ordered. This might include blood or urine testing.
- Special testing such as MRI, CT scans, or EEG (brain wave patterns) may be performed.
Self-Care at Home
Home care with epilepsy varies with the frequency and type of seizures. It is important to take anticonvulsant medication regularly to prevent seizures.
When a seizure occurs, an observer can use common sense to prevent injuries.
- Cushion the person’s head.
- Loosen any tight neckwear.
- Turn the person on his or her side.
- Do not hold the person down or restrain the person.
- Do not place anything in the mouth or try to pry the teeth apart. The person is not in danger of swallowing his or her tongue.
- Observe seizure characteristics-length, type of movements, direction of head or eye turning. These characteristics may help the doctor diagnose the type of seizure.