Epilepsy is characterized by seizures caused by abnormal nerve and electrical activity in the brain. Seizure symptoms can range from relatively mild to debilitating.
Dignity Health specialists use a team approach when diagnosing and treating epilepsy symptoms in Arizona. Our neurologists, intensivists, neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists, oncologists, and nurse practitioners — all experts in their field — deliver care with compassion and a personal touch. Call (855) 231-6180 or use our online tool to Find a Doctor. We offer neurological care at:
Make the most of your appointment — and have more time to ask questions — by taking a few minutes to prepare. Get tips on what to bring and what to expect at your appointment.
Common Symptoms of Seizures
Seizures are the most recognizable sign of epilepsy. Seizure symptoms depend on what part of the brain is involved and vary from person to person. There are three general types of seizures: focal, tonic-clonic, and absence. Regardless of type, symptoms may include:
- Having a mood swing or feeling weird or strange right before a seizure
- Auditory or visual hallucinations
- Periods of staring into space
- Smelling odors that aren’t there
- Muscle rigidity
- Crawling feeling under or tingling of the skin
- Inability to speak during the seizure
- Abnormal head movements
- Facial flushing
Epilepsy Diagnosis at Dignity Health
At Dignity Health, our doctors understand that people with epilepsy need concrete answers about what is causing their seizures. Before arriving at an epilepsy diagnosis, your doctor will take your medical history and a thorough physical exam. You will be asked about any family history of epilepsy and detailed questions about your seizures, such as:
- How often do you have seizures?
- What do you experience during a seizure?
- Is there anything that tends to trigger your seizures?
It can be helpful to bring along another person, such as a family member, to help you answer these questions.
You doctor may also order tests, including:
- Spinal tap or lumbar puncture to examine your cerebrospinal fluid
- Electroencephalogram (EEG), a noninvasive test to record the electrical activity of your brain; you may be asked to wear a portable EEG for several days
- Blood tests
- Imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT)
- Neuropsychological evaluation to identify cognitive issues related to seizures and help identify where they occur in the brain (seizure focus)
Uncovering the cause of your epilepsy is the first step in creating an epilepsy treatment plan. Your care team will work with you to help reduce the severity and frequency of seizures to improve or maintain your quality of life.
Dignity Health doctors diagnose and treat epilepsy symptoms in Arizona.