BLOG - How We Help with Seizures
Seizures can be scary, whether you’ve had one yourself or witnessed a loved one have one. Most people assume that if you’ve had a seizure, you have epilepsy. While it’s true that epilepsy leads to seizures, the truth is that many different conditions can cause seizures. Understanding what’s causing your seizures is the key to preventing them in the future, and that’s where the neurology specialists here at Ventura Neuroscience Center here in Oxnard, California, come into play.
Below, we explore how we can help with seizures.
Recognizing the signs of a seizure
Seizures happen when the electrical activity in your brain suddenly surges, causing your nerves to become overactive. The overactive, imbalanced nerve activity in your brain can lead to the classic seizure symptoms of jerking movements, loss of consciousness, rigid muscles, spasms, and twitching muscles. Lesser-known symptoms of seizures include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Inability to hear or talk
- Blurry vision
- Flashing lights
The intensity of seizures symptoms can vary, so it’s possible to have one and barely recognize the symptoms. Some seizures may require emergency medical attention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend calling 9-1-1 for a seizure if it is the person’s first seizure, if it lasts for more than 5 minutes, if the person is hurt, if the person is pregnant, if the seizure occurs in water, or if the person has underlying conditions, such as diabetes.
Diagnosing the origins of your seizures
Seizures are not a disease. Rather they are symptoms of another condition, including epilepsy, high fevers, low blood sugar, traumatic brain injury (TBI), brain tumors, inflammation in the brain, and side effects of certain medications. The key to preventing future seizures is understanding what caused your first one.
Here at Ventura Neuroscience Center, we start each seizure treatment plan with a comprehensive physical exam, a neurological evaluation, a review of your symptoms, and diagnostic testing.
Exam and review of symptoms
During your exam, we take a look at your motor abilities, your behaviors and movements, and your mental function. This helps determine if there is an issue with your brain and/or nervous system.
Diagnostic testing helps determine the source of your seizures. There are many tests available, including blood tests, lumbar puncture, and an electroencephalogram (EEG).
Your blood work provides valuable information about your blood sugar levels, possible genetic conditions, electrolyte imbalances, and white blood cell count.
EEGs, for example, can also pinpoint where in your brain your seizure originated. For example, a seizure that originated in your frontal lobe may cause head and eye movements that tilt to one side, screaming, and repetitive movements. Frontal lobe seizures are typically caused by abnormalities, such as tumors, strokes, or traumatic injuries.
Another test 一 a lumbar puncture 一 may be required if an infection is suspected. This procedure tests your cerebrospinal fluid for signs of an infection.
Together these tests play a big role in pinpointing the cause of your seizure and where it originated 一 two key factors that shape your treatment plan.
Once our team determines what’s causing your seizures and where they originated in your brain, we recommend the appropriate steps for you. For many people, the first pillar of seizure treatment is medication. There are many different types of medications that work to prevent future seizures. You may need to try a few different medications before you find one that works for you.
Rest assured, your team at Ventura Neuroscience Center guides you through every step of this process, and if medication isn’t enough, we recommend other types of treatment. This includes:
- Ketogenic dietary modifications (keto has been part of epilepsy treatments since the 1920s)
- Vagus nerve stimulation
- Deep brain stimulation
To answer the original question 一 how do we help with seizures 一 the answer is simple: we want to help you prevent future seizures. We do that through comprehensive exams and evaluations, diagnostic testing, and meticulous treatment planning.