Doctor Discussion Guide
Be sure to ask the questions most important to you every time you visit the doctor.
Epilepsy is a chronic (meaning it lasts for a long time) condition that is defined by recurrent seizures.1 But it is more than just seizures. People with epilepsy can have memory problems, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems.2
Doctors have many ways to describe epilepsy. They can explain where the seizure is happening in the brain—either partial-onset or generalized. Partial-onset means that the seizures are caused by a small, specific part of the brain that is not working right.1 Generalized means that the problem is more widespread.1
Childhood epilepsies can range in how severely they impact the child. Some epilepsies may lead to learning disorders.2 And still others, including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), do not respond consistently to medical treatment.2 These epilepsies often have a severe impact on the child's social and intellectual development.2
Epilepsy is often diagnosed when a person has 2 or more unprovoked seizures 24 hours apart.4 In some cases, if the seizure causes a long-lasting change in the brain that could lead to other seizures, that one seizure is enough for a diagnosis of epilepsy.3
There are many different kinds of epilepsies, and several options for treatment. A complete evaluation—including medical history, MRI and EEG tests, and close observation—is needed to diagnose and treat epilepsy.1
This Web site contains information relating to various medical conditions and treatment. Such information is provided for educational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice of a physician or other healthcare professionals. You should not use this information for diagnosing a health problem or disease. In order for you to make intelligent healthcare decisions, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare provider for your, or your loved one's, personal medical needs. All quotes included in this Web site represent the individual experience of some doctors, some patients, and their caregivers. Individual responses to treatment may vary.
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