At Your Appointment

Epilepsy Appointment Guide

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Ask the right questions at your next doctor’s appointment. Answer two questions below to personalize your appointment guide.
  • How many seizures have you had since our last visit?
  • Can we review your seizure diary or calendar?
  • How often, if at all, have you missed a dose of your seizure medicine? Have you had any difficulty remembering your medicine?
  • How much sleep are you getting on an average night?
  • Do you currently smoke or use alcohol?
  • How much exercise are you getting on a weekly basis?
  • When did your seizures begin? How many have you had?
  • What other symptoms do you have either before or during a seizure?
  • Do certain things seem to trigger your seizures?
  • Do your seizures happen frequently or only occasionally?
  • Have you had a recent head injury?
  • Does anyone in your family have seizures or epilepsy?
  • Are you having side effects from you medicine, such as rash, fatigue, dizziness, speech problems, memory problems, or depression? Have you had suicidal thoughts?
  • What is your main concern about an epilepsy diagnosis?
  • What new symptoms are you experiencing?
  • Do my seizures mean I have epilepsy?
  • What causes seizures?
  • Could another medical condition be causing or contributing to my seizures?
  • How do you diagnose epilepsy?
  • How does epilepsy usually progress?
  • What are the potential complications of epilepsy?
  • What kind of seizures do I have?
  • What treatment do you recommend? How will we know if it is working?
  • What side effects are possible?
  • What precautions do I need to take in case I have another seizure?
  • What information should I include in my seizure diary?
  • Are there other medicines that would control my seizures better or with fewer side effects?
  • Are there restrictions to my activities, such as driving or swimming?
  • Are my new or different symptoms directly related to my epilepsy or my medicines?
  • How do you believe my epilepsy will progress? Is there anything else you recommend?
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Last Review Date: 2018 Nov 1
  1. Epilepsy. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. 
  2. Managing Your Epilepsy. Epilepsy Foundation.

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  • One of the most widely known epilepsy seizure triggers is flashing lights.
  • Doctors use a variety of tests and your own symptom history to confirm a diagnosis of epilepsy.
  • The symptom that defines epilepsy is recurrent seizures, which are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
  • While there is no cure for epilepsy, it is possible to control the symptoms with medications, surgery or electrical stimulation.
  • Epilepsy can result from any type of damage to the brain, though in some cases the cause is not known.
  • Epilepsy is a condition in which there is disordered electrical activity in the brain resulting in seizures.
  • If your epilepsy treatment works just fine, there’s no reason to tinker with it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as the old wives’ tale goes. But if you’re having difficulty treating your epilepsy or are dissatisfied with the treatment, it may be time to consider switching to another one. For some, a new medication or set of medications may be just the ticket, while for others, surgery may be the best route.
  • If you’ve been diagnosed with epilepsy, you’re not alone. It’s the fourth most common neurological disorder in the United States. But not everyone with epilepsy experiences the same types of seizures or the same number of seizures. Over the years, researchers have tried to come up with ways of measuring how severe someone’s epilepsy is. For example, adults who are diagnosed with epilepsy may be measured with the Liverpool Seizure Severity Scale, but children may be assessed with information based on the Early Childhood Epilepsy Severity Scale (E-Chess). Regardless of the method or scale used, this information helps your neurologist plot the course of your treatment. But aside from the scales, what’s most important to you is how you understand your own epilepsy.
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