Dr. Purvi Saraiya, a board-certified neurologist and clinical neurophysiologist with Wood County Neurology, specializes in treating epilepsy in those 18 and older. Dr. Saraiya shared information about epilepsy to help our community better understand the condition and watch for warning signs.
What is Epilepsy?
A diagnosis of epilepsy happens when a patient has two or more unprovoked seizures. Seizures are a symptom of the condition. A provoked seizer may occur due to low blood sugar, low oxygen levels, high fever, trauma, alcohol, or drug abuse. These would not constitute an epilepsy diagnosis. A seizure that comes on without a trigger would be considered unprovoked.
Epilepsy can occur at any point in life. Sometimes it will appear in childhood and calms down for a few years and comes back later on in life. Sometimes it happens as a person ages. There is a broad spectrum of the severity of the disorder and varies from person to person.
How do you diagnose epilepsy?
Reviewing the history and detailed description of a seizure is very important in diagnosis. The physician will learn about past seizures, what type of seizure, the severity and if there was a trigger. Since the seizures cannot be predicted, most times, we as physicians will likely not be able to witness it firsthand.
Once we review this information, we can make a diagnosis, along with other forms of testing such as an EEG or an MRI are used to learn more.
Is there a cure for epilepsy?
There is no cure, but medications and treatments can help reduce the severity and frequency of seizures. Since this condition can affect things like holding a job and driving, it is essential to try to control the condition. In Ohio, a person should not drive a motor vehicle until seizure-free for six months. The rules and recommendations for driving vary state to state. Information can be found by visiting epilepsy.com.
Dr. Saraiya said, “The most common cause of recurring seizures and epilepsy is noncompliance with the medications. If a patient follows the plan put into place with their physician, epilepsy can be managed. You can go on to live your life.”
What do I do if someone has a seizure?
Stay. – Stay with the person until they are awake and alert after the seizure. Time the seizure, remain calm and check for medical ID.
Safe. – Keep the person safe. Move or guide away from harm.
Side. – Turn the person on their side if they are not awake and aware. Keep the airway clear. Loosen tight clothes around the neck. Put something small and soft under the head.
Call 911 any time or if –
The seizure lasts longer than 3-5 minutes.
The person does not return to their normal state.
The person is injured, pregnant, or sick.
There are repeated seizures. It is a first-time seizure.
The person has difficulty breathing.
The seizure occurs in water.
Do not – Restrain or put any objects in their mouth.
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