Epilepsy is a group of brain disorders that causes seizures by interfering with the brain’s electrical activity. Doctors no longer consider epilepsy a single disease.
At Dignity Health, our specialists take a team approach to treating disorders of the nervous system, including epilepsy, in Arizona. Your care team includes neurosurgeons, neurologists, intensivists, and nurse practitioners who are experts in their field and committed to providing personalized care with compassion. We offer neurological care at our Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s, Chandler Regional Medical Center, and Mercy Gilbert Medical Center locations. Find a Doctor online or by calling (855) 231-6180.
What Causes Seizures & Epilepsy?
Epileptic seizures are caused by an change in or interruption of the brain’s normal electrical activity. This can be due to:
In some cases, epilepsy runs in families.
Epileptic Seizure Symptoms
Seizures are the main sign of epilepsy. A diagnosis of epilepsy requires multiple seizures over a period of time. Head trauma or high fever can also cause seizures — this is not considered epilepsy.
Epilepsy symptoms depend on where the seizure starts in the brain. Everyone experiences epilepsy a bit differently, but common signs and symptoms of seizures include:
- Shaking of the whole body, or just the arms and legs
- Rigid muscles
- Abnormal head shaking
- Periods of staring, usually for 15 seconds or less, which you don’t remember later
- Inability to speak
Sometimes people experience pre-seizure tingling sensations, smell odors that don’t exist, have mood changes, or just feel strange.
Epilepsy Treatment at Dignity Health
The goal of epilepsy treatment is to reduce the severity and frequency of seizures. Our doctors work with you to help avoid side effects from treatment and preserve your quality of life. At Barrow Epilepsy Program, your care team meets weekly to track your progress and make sure you get the right treatment at the right time.
Medications to help reduce seizures are often the first line of treatment. If the cause of your seizures is known, your treatment may also address any underlying medical condition, such as a brain tumor.
Sometimes doctors treat epilepsy with neurosurgery. This may involve implanting a device to control brain function or removing brain tissue.
Dignity Health provides comprehensive and compassionate treatment for epilepsy in Arizona.