published Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Ask A Doctor: My daughter recently had a seizure, does this mean she has epilepsy?

By Dr. Nikesh Ardeshna

Q: My daughter recently had a seizure. Does this mean she has epilepsy?

A: Not necessarily. People who experience two unprovoked seizures are considered to have epilepsy. You do not have to have any obvious risk factors or a family history of seizures to develop epilepsy. Seizures can begin at any age. Although the fastest-growing segment of the population with seizures used to be children, more seniors are now experiencing seizures than any other age group. Most people are aware of grand mal seizures, the type of seizure that causes stiffening, loss of consciousness and generalized body shaking. But there are many other types of seizures. Some manifestations of a seizure can be very subtle or so bizarre that the diagnosis of epilepsy can be missed for years. Newer medications and technologically advanced studies now permit earlier, more accurate diagnosis and more effective treatment. The goal for epilepsy patients is to be seizure free without side effects. Anyone with confirmed or suspected seizures or epilepsy should see a neurologist or epileptologist, a neurologist specializing in the care of epilepsy patients.

— Dr. Nikesh Ardeshna, UT Erlanger Neurology; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

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