How Is Epilepsy Diagnosed

In general, A neurological disorder like epilepsy causes recurring seizures among epileptic individuals. It can have a major impact on their brain functions, which affects their ability to control their bodily movements, and they may even remain confused, lack consciousness or awareness, develop stiffness in muscles, and have psychological problems such as anxiety, fear, or déjà vu.

The condition if left untreated can become severe and the brain cells might get completely damaged. Which can lead to life-threatening consequences. Here, we will see the treatments and diagnostic evaluation of epilepsy, which involves brain imaging and several tests to monitor the electrical malfunctions of the brain which reveals the root cause of the seizures.  

Electroencephalography (EEG)

In general, An Electroencephalography test is a method by which the electrical activity happening in the various parts of the brain can be measured and it is recorded as a visual trace. It involves attaching small metal discs or electrodes with a cap to the scalp. The electrical signals of the brain get sensed by the electrodes and get recorded and displayed on the screen in the form of waves.

The medical expert will observe and monitor your brain waves in the video which indicates changes happening in the brain. The test can be done while you are asleep or awake. The screen display will help the healthcare expert to analyze your condition and determine the severity of seizures and other conditions.

EEG is considered the primary diagnostic test for epilepsy. This test is also helpful for detecting other brain malfunctions and disorders like brain tumors, sleep disorders, head injury, brain damage, stroke, inflammation of the brain, and other diseases. Moreover, The test is usually done at the doctor’s office or in the hospital under medical supervision. 

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Further, This test involves image capturing of the insides of the human body. The imagery is taken with the help of a technique that uses a strong magnetic field along with digitally generated radio waves. That help in creating detailed images of the internal organs as well as tissues of the body.

In general, MRI scanner machines are tube-shaped and are usually huge, one has to lie inside the tube to get their body parts scanned. For scanning the brain for damage detection in the brain. Which is contributing to seizures, the scanner is focused on the head part. Scanning helps medical examiners to obtain detailed imagery of the brain. Which allows them to locate the spots that give rise to seizure attacks.  

In general, MRI creates detailed images of blood flow to the areas of the brain. It helps in identifying the areas of the brain that are responsible for causing malfunction, by examining the anatomy of the brain. Not only brain disorders but MRI scanning is also helpful in identifying any abnormalities with the body’s organs, bones, joints, breasts, etc. 

Computerized tomography (CT) scan

In general, a CT scan generates an X-ray image of the brain to detect the areas of the brain that are causing seizures. It helps in the detection of abnormalities such as tumors, cellular damage, strokes, scar tissues, and injury. The tests involve exposing the individual to radiation. While the scanner creates an image of the brain. It helps obtain cross-sectional images of the brain.

Positron emission tomography (PET)

In general, a PET scan helps obtain an image of the brain to examine its metabolic or biochemical functions. This method is based on the nuclear medicine procedure, wherein the individual needs to wear a mask that aids in positioning the individual in the machine for scanning. The physician will inject a small amount of radioactive substance into the arm of the individual. The substance gets to the brain and that is when the scanner does its job of scanning any changes happening inside the brain.  

Single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT)

This method also involves injecting the patient with some radioactive substance for obtaining clear scanned images through a specially designed image-capturing camera that produces a 3D image of the brain. This technique helps medical practitioners in locating the exact point in the brain that is causing seizures and other neurological disorders. 

In general, Radioactive substances or tracers are the carrier molecules. That help in the evaluation, diagnosis, and proper treatment of epilepsy and several other neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, strokes, traumatic brain injury (TBIs), etc.

Symptoms of epilepsy

An individual with epileptic disorder may experience seizures and several other symptoms. To find out the cause of these symptoms, the tests are done. Epilepsy can be indicated by the symptoms including:

  • Repeated seizures
  • Sudden change in behavior
  • Uncontrolled jerking movements of arms and legs
  • Lack of awareness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Psychological issues like fear, anxiety, or déjà vu.

The lowdown

The physician may suggest the individual get multiple scanning tests. As the exact cause of epilepsy might not be confirmed through a single test. Multiple tests can help with the identification of the exact cause of seizures and associated symptoms. The diagnosis is not an easy thing, it requires a lot of processing of information and analysis to find the root cause.

Lastly, the treatment can be done through surgery or anti-epileptic drugs. That can prevent seizure attacks and eliminate any health risks. Epilepsy surgery involves the removal of a small part of the brain that leads to seizure attacks. Also, a ketogenic diet can be beneficial for managing epileptic conditions to a great extent.   

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