How is Epilepsy Diagnosed?

Epileptic seizures are due to intermittent and temporary disturbance in the brain, which produces some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Disturbance of consciousness or awareness
  • Alterations of bodily movement, sensation or posture

More often than not, the person concerned will have no recollection of what has actually happened. For this reason, it is very important for someone else i.e. a parent or spouse, to report the seizure to the person's doctor who may be their GP, a Hospital Doctor or Consultant Neurologist.

Once the doctor has this information, a number of questions are asked: 

  • Has the person really had a seizure, or is there some other explanation for the events that occurred?
  • Was the seizure due to disturbance within the brain, or was it due to some other cause?
  • Has the person only had one seizure, or have other seizures occurred in the past?

If the doctor is satisfied that the events were epileptic seizures (there are many other conditions that can be confused with epilepsy), then the question is asked: 

  • Is there some identifiable cause, within the brain itself, such as a tumour, which itself is treatable?

To help answer this, the doctor may arrange for the patient to have a number of tests. These are designed to help confirm diagnosis, and also to determine any identifiable cause of the epilepsy.

The tests do not always make a diagnosis of epilepsy; this usually remains a clinical decision based on what happened to the person. It's perfectly possible to have normal or clear tests results and still be diagnosed with epilepsy.

web design by ionic