About 2.3 million Americans have epilepsy, a common neurological disorder that causes recurrent seizures and usually begins in childhood or adolescence. At the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, we offer advanced diagnosis and treatment for children with epilepsy. Learn more about epilepsy in our Health Encyclopedia.
About Epileptic Seizures
Seizures occur when there is an imbalance in the electrical activity of the brain. This disturbance may be in a small area or spread to the entire brain.
Epilepsy can be hereditary or can be associated with head injury, birth trauma, brain infections like meningitis and encephalitis, brain tumor or deformity, stroke, very high fever, or withdrawal from drugs.
Epileptic seizures may occur rarely or every day and fall into 2 main categories:
- Generalized seizures involve a loss of consciousness and affect the whole body.
- Partial seizures do not necessarily involve the loss of consciousness, but they can lead to a generalized seizure.
Epilepsy symptoms can also include mood changes, intense feelings of fear or déjà vu, fatigue, jerking or twitching of arms and legs, aura, and sensitivity to flashing lights.
Many people with epilepsy have no symptoms between seizures and lead normal lives. Some people have no symptoms for years and may be weaned off medication.
Epilepsy Diagnosis at Wake Forest Baptist Health
To diagnose epilepsy, a doctor will study the patient’s history, conduct thorough physical and neurological evaluations, and run a variety of tests.
Tests may include:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to produce pictures of tissues in the brain
- Electroencephalograph (EEG) to record electrical impulses of the brain
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) to monitor the heart
- Blood tests to exclude other diseases
Our six-bed Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU), the most modern in North Carolina, is dedicated to confirming a diagnosis of epilepsy and pinpointing seizure activity and origin. At Wake Forest Baptist the EMU equipment and monitoring staff are all located in the same physical location to provide the best care to our patients.
Following diagnosis, our epilepsy team will collaborate with the patient to determine the best treatment plan.
Learn more about the following at Wake Forest Baptist Health: