Epilepsy: When to seek medical advice?

By  , Expert Content
Mar 21, 2012

Epilepsy is a common neurological condition in which people have epileptic attacks (or seizures). It is estimated to affect about 0.5 to 1 per cent of the population. Epilepsy cannot be cured, but in most cases, seizures are controlled with medication.

Consult your doctor if:

You have a seizure. If you have a single seizure, most doctors would not diagnose it as epilepsy because epilepsy is defined as a condition in which patients have recurrent seizures. Seizure, however, is a serious condition for which you should visit a doctor. The doctor can determine the cause of seizure and treat it appropriately.

A person with epilepsy on treatment has repeated seizures. In most people, repeated seizures are controlled with one medication. Regrettably, some people may need two or more medications to control seizures. Your doctor can examine you, do tests and determine the right type and strength of medication. Medicines work by stabilising the electrical activity of the brain and therefore, it is important to take medication daily to prevent seizures.

You develop side-effect due to medicine: as is true of all drugs, anti-epileptic medicines have side-effects as well. Some of the side effects of epilepsy drugs include blurry or double vision, fatigue, sleepiness, unsteadiness, stomach upset, skin rashes, low blood cell counts, liver problems, swelling of the gums, hair loss, weight gain and tremor. Side-effects depend on the dose, type of medicine, and duration of treatment. Discuss with your doctor about the side-effects for which you should be watchful.

You are planning pregnancy. Most women with epilepsy go through pregnancy without difficulty.
It is, however, recommended that a woman consult a doctor before getting pregnant, particularly if she is on medications for epilepsy.

You have any seizure during pregnancy. Pregnancy does not increase the frequency of seizures.

If you are pregnant your doctor will like to check the blood levels of medicines often during pregnancy. Women should not discontinue seizure medicines without their doctor’s advice.


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