Epilepsy is a spectrum disorder, meaning how you experience it varies widely from person to person. Seizures, which are triggered by disruptions to normal nerve activity in the brain, are the defining symptom of epilepsy. But every person has varying signs of a seizure, sometimes depending on what part of the brain is involved. Epilepsy symptoms can range from mild to debilitating.
If you’re experiencing seizure symptoms in Northern California, Find a Doctor at any of the Dignity Health North State neurology centers. We have trusted experts that can diagnose the cause of your seizures and provide the right treatment.
Types of Seizures
There are three main types of seizures:
- Absence seizures: A short period of “blanking out,” where you’re not aware of what’s going on around you and often stare into space
- Focal seizures: This type of seizure often involves involuntary muscle movements, changes in your senses, changes in how you feel or think, and purposeless movements (“automatisms”)
- Tonic-clonic seizures: A convulsive seizure, where you lose consciousness and muscles move in jerking motions
Epilepsy & Seizure Symptoms
You may be diagnosed with epilepsy if you have repeated seizures over a period of time. Generally speaking, symptoms for any of type of seizure may include:
- Feeling strange or having a noticeable change in emotions immediately prior to a seizure
- Smelling odors that aren’t there
- Visual or auditory hallucinations
- Tingling or crawling feeling in your skin
- Muscle rigidity
- Abnormal head movements
- Periods of staring into space
- Facial flushing
- Being unable speak during the seizure
How is Epilepsy Diagnosed at Dignity Health North State?
Your doctor will perform a thorough physical exam and discuss your medical history with you, including any family history of epilepsy. Your doctor will ask for details about previous seizures, including what you experience, how often they happen, and if you’ve noticed anything that tends to bring them on. He or she may also order tests, including:
- Electroencephalogram (EEG), a noninvasive test that records the electrical activity of your brain; sometimes it will be portable to record your brain activity over several days
- Blood tests
- Lumbar puncture to examine your cerebrospinal fluid
- Imaging tests, such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
A diagnosis of epilepsy can help you to get the treatment you need. Neurologists at Dignity Health North State will address your physical, mental, and spiritual needs and offer a comprehensive treatment plan.
Starting epilepsy treatments early on may reduce the number and severity of your seizures and improve your quality of life.
Dignity Health North State offers personalized health care with humankindness for patients with epilepsy in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.