The Epilepsy Center of Bucks/Montgomery County strives to provide the best control of seizures while maximizing quality of life.
1 in 10 people have had a seizure. Over 2 million Americans have epilepsy. Up to 1 in 26 people in the United States will have epilepsy at some point in their lives.
What is epilepsy: Electrical activity goes on all the time in the brain. A seizure can be considered a short circuiting or miss-firing of the normal electrical activity. Depending on the location of the miss-firing in the brain, different symptoms may develop. Epilepsy is defined as 2 or more unprovoked seizures.
What to expect: Diagnosing seizures and or epilepsy is a multi-step process consisting of a thorough history including details of the event along with a neurologic exam. Other tests can be performed to evaluate the cause of the event and exclude other etiologies. This may include blood tests, an electroencephalogram (EEG), computerized tomography (CT) scan and/or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. EEG’s measure the electrical activity of the brain (brain waves). Certain patterns are indicative of certain types of seizure disorders/epilepsy. Routine or sleep deprived EEG’s may be normal in some patients with epilepsy and prolonged EEG monitoring (1-4 days of ambulatory EEG monitoring) may help clarify the diagnosis. CT scans or MRI scans of the brain look at the anatomy or structure of the brain to help determine an underlying cause. Patients are followed closely to help ensure appropriate care not just of the seizures/epilepsy but of the patient and family as a whole.
Treatment is an individualized decision, weighing the risks of recurrent seizures versus the risks/benefits of treatment. If an underlying cause of a seizure is found, this can be addressed and no further treatment may be needed. If the decision is made to proceed with treatment, the most common form of treatment is medication. Numerous medications are now available and which medication is chosen is based on each individual patient’s circumstances. If medication does not control someone’s seizures, surgical options are available.