Falcon Epilepsy Freedom Center
Working to end Epilepsy, Save and Improve Lives!
Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the world affecting approximately 1% of the world's population, around 65 million people on planet Earth. In the United States alone, it affects about 3.4 million people and around *366,263* in the great state of Florida. If you have epilepsy, surges of electrical activity in your brain can cause recurring seizures. We can help you understand everything you need to know about epilepsy and what you can do about it.
For better understanding and living with epilepsy, potentially achieving Seizure Freedom and join/support the mission to End Epilepsy and to get involved with epilepsy foundation Co-Chaired in the state of Florida by Dr. Jaivir Rathore; please review the following link: https://www.epilepsy.com/
La epilepsia: https://www.epilepsy.com/espanol
Quick Stats on Epilepsy
Here are some key numbers to Ponder!
- 65 MILLION: Number of people around the world who have epilepsy.
- 3.4 MILLION: Number of people in the United States who have epilepsy.
- 470,000: Number of children in the United States who have epilepsy.
- 1 IN 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime.
- BETWEEN 4 AND 10 OUT OF 1,000: Number of people on earth who live with active seizures at any one time.
- 150,000: Number of new cases of epilepsy in the United States each year.
- ONE-THIRD: Number of people with epilepsy who live with uncontrolled seizures despite taking seizure medications.
- 6 OUT OF 10: Number of people with epilepsy where the cause is unknown.
Epilepsy is a chronic disorder that causes unprovoked, recurrent seizures. A seizure is a sudden rush of electrical activity in the brain. There are two main types of epilepsy:
- Generalized epilepsy which may affect the whole brain.
- Focal, or partial seizures, which originates from one part of the brain and may spread to nearby areas or the entire brain. If it does not affect consciousness; its called focal aware or earlier known as simple partial seizure. If it affects the consciousness, it's called focal unaware or earlier known as complex partial seizure.
- Seizures may present in a variety of ways, some of which may be difficult to recognize especially by patients or their families and in some cases even by health care providers other than trained epilepsy physicians. The subtle seizures could cause abnormal visual or auditory phenomenon including hallucinations, abnormal taste, smell, deja vu, gastric rising sensations, palpitations, nausea, crying, laughing etc.
Anyone can develop epilepsy, but it's more common in young children and older adults. It occurs slightly more in males than in females.
Epilepsy is a condition that causes people to have repeated seizures. But not everyone who has had a seizure has epilepsy. Problems such as low blood sugar, alcohol withdrawal, illicit drugs, infections, certain medications or fever (especially in children) can also cause seizures. Other problems such as anxiety, conversion disorder (Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures/Events) or fainting spells including neuro-cardiogenic syncope can cause events that look like seizures and at times patient's are subject to unnecessary medications and procedures. Therefore accurate and timely diagnosis and treatment is of paramount importance.
What are the symptoms of Epilepsy?
Seizures are the main symptom of epilepsy. Symptoms differ from person to person and according to the type of seizure.
- Focal (partial) seizures – Its symptoms may include alterations to sense of taste, smell, sight, hearing, or touch, dizziness, tingling and twitching of limbs.
- Complex partial seizures involve alteration of awareness or consciousness – Its other symptoms include staring blankly, unresponsiveness, and performing repetitive movements.
- Generalized Seizures – These are focal onset seizures which may spread to involve the entire brain and result in alteration in consciousness and may also cause whole body shaking (Tonic-Clonic) motor activity colloquially known as "Grand Mal Seizures", which may potentially cause injuries and in some cases death (SUDEP: Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy).
Following a seizure, you may not remember having one, or you might feel sick for several minutes to hours.
Diagnosis and Treatment
There's treatment for epilepsy, and it can be managed with medications and other strategies including Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS), Responsive Neuro Stimulation (RNS) Neuropace, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LiTT) and/or surgery may achieve potential cure in some cases.
The right treatment for seizures depends on what is causing them. If you have seizures because of an infection, you will probably need treatments to get rid of the infection. On the other hand, if you have repeated seizures because of epilepsy, you will probably need anti-seizure medicines, also called "anti-convulsants."
People sometimes need to try different medicines before they find a treatment that works well. Seizures can be hard to control. But if you work with your doctor, chances are good that you will find a treatment that works.
If you have events that are concerning possible seizures or are already diagnosed with epilepsy/seizure disorder or had a head injury or are showing signs of a condition such as cognitive decline or dementia, Falcon Advanced Neurology offers state-of-the-art video electroencephalograms (VEEG) to study your brain's electrical activity for characterization of the events, localize if seizures to guide further treatment be it medicines, surgery or brain stimulation. This non-invasive test can help diagnose your neurological condition and identify the best course of treatment to alleviate your symptoms. If you're concerned about your neurological health, call Falcon Advanced Neurology to make an appointment today.
FAQs regarding Seizures
The right treatment for seizures depends on what is causing them. If you have seizures because of an infection, you will probably need treatments to get rid of the infection. On the other hand, if you have repeated seizures because of epilepsy, you will probably need anti-seizure medicines, also called "anti-convulsants." People sometimes need to try different medicines before they find a treatment that works well. Seizures can be hard to control. But if you work with your doctor, chances are good that you will find a treatment that works.
If you keep having seizures even after trying different medicines, you might have other options. Some people have surgery to remove the part of their brain that is causing seizures. Others get a device called the Vagus Nerve stimulator put in their chest that helps control seizures. Newer therapies like deep brain stimulation (DBS) and responsive neuro-stimulator (RNS) placements are also options at the Falcon Advanced Neurology's Epilepsy Freedom Center as we collaborate with some of the top surgical epilepsy centers in the state of Florida and nationwide. Until you have your seizures under control and cleared by a physician, please do not drive. The laws that say when a person with seizures can drive are different depending on where the person lives. Ask your doctor if you can safely drive and about the laws where you live. Also, if your seizures are not under control make sure to take other safety steps. For example, do not swim without someone else nearby who could help you if you started having a seizure. And avoid activities that could result in you falling from a height.
- Take your medicines exactly as directed – at the right times, and at the right doses.
- Tell your doctor about any side effects, you may have. That way the two of you can find the best medicine for you.
- Be careful not to let your prescription run out. (Stopping anti-seizure medicine suddenly can put you at risk of seizure.)
- While on anti-seizure medicines, check with your doctor before starting any new medicines. Anti-seizure medicines can interact with prescription and non-prescription medicines, and with herbal drugs. Mixing them can increase side effects or make them not work as well.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can increase the risk of seizures, affect the way seizure medicines work, and increase side effects from anti-seizure medicines.
Ask your doctor what your family members should do. Some people will have seizures from time to time, and they might not need to see a doctor every time. But if you have a seizure that lasts longer than 5 minutes or if you do not wake up after a seizure, your family members should call for an ambulance (in the US and Canada, dial 9-1-1). Your family members should not try to put anything in your mouth while you are having a seizure. But they should make sure you do not bang against any hard surfaces.
If you take anti-seizure medicines, speak to your doctor or nurse before you start trying to get pregnant. Some anti-seizure medicines can hurt an unborn baby. You might need to switch medicines before you get pregnant.
FAQs regarding EEG
A Video EEG, or electroencephalogram, is a diagnostic tool that monitors and records the electrical activity in your brain along with a video to record your body movements during a seizure event. Your brain cells use electrical impulses to send messages both to other brain cells and throughout your body. A Video EEG shows the electrical activity, so Dr. Rathore and team at Falcon Advanced Neurology's Epilepsy Freedom Center can look for normal, abnormal brain activity and patterns while awake or asleep. It's a useful tool to diagnose epilepsy/seizure disorders, dementia, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and other neurodegenerative brain disorders. VEEGs are noninvasive, safe, and painless. The test may include stimulation techniques including flashing lights, deep breathing (hyperventilation) if clinically indicated.
Dr. Rathore uses EEGs to diagnose conditions, including:
- Concussions and head injuries
- Encephalitis (brain inflammation)
- Encephalopathy (a brain dysfunction disease)
- Memory problems
- Sleep disorders
- Brain tumors
If you're concerned about your brain health and are having symptoms of seizures, dementia, or sleep disorders, call Dr. Rathore to schedule an assessment. The more quickly you get a diagnosis and start treatment, the better your chances are of avoiding disruptive health problems.
You have a consultation with Dr. Rathore before your EEG, and he gives you personalized instructions on preparing for your procedure. In general, you should wash your hair the night before your appointment and not put any styling products in your hair. You should avoid caffeine for at least eight hours before your test. Dr. Rathore provides instructions on whether you should take any medications or adjust your sleep routine before your test.
When you have your Video EEG, a technician attaches several electrodes to your head/scalp. The electrodes pick up electrical activity in your brain and transmit it to a computer, which measures and monitors your brain waves and is personally interpreted by epilepsy fellowship trained and triple board certified neurologist, epileptologist, clinical neurophysiologist Dr. Jaivir Rathore. A routine Video EEG usually lasts for 30-60 minutes and if needed an extended duration study lasting up to 7 days may be needed. You sit in a reclining chair or lie on a treatment table. Your technician may give you instructions to open or close your eyes or breathe deeply. If they're testing for seizures, the technician may ask you to look at a flashing light or image. All of the Video EEG technicians at Falcon Advanced Neurology's Epilepsy Freedom Center are fully trained and experienced and can take immediate action to protect your safety on the rare occasion of the test triggering a seizure. When your Video EEG is complete, your technician removes the electrodes. Dr. Rathore reviews the studies on a daily basis and you will have a follow-up appointment to discuss the final impression of your Video EEG. Call Falcon Advanced Neurology to make an appointment today if you need expert neurological testing, including a Video EEG.