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Diagnosing Epilepsy in Central California


The main sign of epilepsy is seizures, which can be caused by a variety of factors that interrupt normal nerve activity in the brain.

If a loved one is experiencing seizures, meet with a Dignity Health Central California neurologist for testing and diagnosis. Find a Doctor to receive expert care for epilepsy at any of our care centers: 

 

What Is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is not a single disease but a spectrum of brain disorders that cause seizures. You must experience multiple seizures over a period of time to get an epilepsy diagnosis. Having just one seizure because of a high fever or head trauma is not considered epilepsy.

 

Epilepsy Symptoms

Seizure symptoms vary and change depending on where the seizure comes from in the brain. Symptoms of a seizure can include:

  • Periods of staring, usually for 15 seconds or less, which you don’t remember later
  • Shaking of the arms and legs, or the whole body
  • Rigid muscles
  • Convulsions
  • Abnormal head shaking
  • Momentary inability to speak

Symptoms of epilepsy can include preseizure mood changes, tingling sensations, smelling odors that don’t exist, or feeling strange.

 

What Causes Seizures?

While epilepsy is often hereditary, often the root cause of the disease is unknown. Epilepsy results from disruption of normal nerve activity in the brain, which can be caused by many factors, including:

  • Congenital brain defects (problems that are present at birth)
  • Brain injury
  • Brain tumors
  • Blood abnormalities
  • Infections, such as meningitis
  • Abnormally formed blood vessels in the brain
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia

Treating Epilepsy at Dignity Health Central California

Epilepsy treatments focus on reducing the number and severity of seizures, avoiding the side effects of treatment, and ensuring the best quality of life. Doctors at Dignity Health Central California will create a personalized treatment plan, which may include:

  • Addressing underlying health conditions, like a brain tumor.
  • Medications to reduce the frequency of seizures.
  • Functional neurosurgery to remove brain tissue or implant a device to regulate nerve function.

Because epilepsy has many potential causes, there is no way to completely prevent it. But since brain trauma can cause epilepsy, parents should make sure their children wear helmets when doing activities with a high risk for head injury.

Neurologists at Dignity Health Central California offer advanced care to diagnose and treat epilepsy in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.