Can epilepsy be detected by blood test?
A neurologist will also use blood tests, imaging scans, and EEGs to determine if you have epilepsy. If you receive a diagnosis, they'll use different techniques to identify the types of seizures that you're having.
- Temporary confusion.
- A staring spell.
- Stiff muscles.
- Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs.
- Loss of consciousness or awareness.
- Psychological symptoms such as fear, anxiety or deja vu.
Diagnosing epilepsy is not simple. Doctors gather lots of different information to assess the causes of seizures. If you have had two or more seizures that started in the brain you may be diagnosed with epilepsy. Getting a diagnosis is not always easy as there is no single test that can diagnose epilepsy.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is the diagnostic tool that identifies structural changes in the brain that may cause seizures or be associated with epilepsy.
An EEG can usually show if you are having a seizure at the time of the test, but it can't show what happens to your brain at any other time. So even though your test results might not show any unusual activity it does not rule out having epilepsy.
In the case of epilepsy, blood tests such as a CBC and chemistry panel help your doctor assess your overall health and identify conditions such as infections, iron deficiency anemia, or diabetes that may be triggering the seizures.
- a stroke.
- a brain tumour.
- a severe head injury.
- drug abuse or alcohol misuse.
- a brain infection.
- a lack of oxygen during birth.
Tests for diagnosing seizures
If this is your first seizure, your doctor may want to do some scans to look at the structures in your brain. A common form of imaging is MRI. Your doctor may also want to assess how the naturally occurring activity in your brain is functioning. To do this, an EEG is performed.
An electroencephalogram (EEG).
The electrodes record the electrical activity of your brain, which shows up as wavy lines on an EEG recording. The EEG may reveal a pattern that tells doctors whether a seizure is likely to occur again.
Many conditions have symptoms similar to epilepsy, including first seizures, febrile seizures, nonepileptic events, eclampsia, meningitis, encephalitis, and migraine headaches.
At what age is epilepsy usually diagnosed?
Epilepsy can begin at any time of life, but it's most commonly diagnosed in children, and people over the age of 65. Some children with epilepsy will outgrow their seizures as they mature, while others may have seizures that continue into adulthood.
CT scans can help doctors identify any brain abnormalities that might be causing seizures, such as scar tissue, tumors, or malformed blood vessels. They can also identify any spinal fluid circulation problems.
If you have spells that may be seizures, your primary doctor probably will send you to see a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in the brain and nervous system. The neurologist will perform a complete neurological exam to find out whether an area of your brain is functioning abnormally.
People sometimes think that imaging tests such as an EEG, CT scan or an MRI will determine that they have had a seizure. However, information from tests alone can't always confirm that a seizure has occurred, or that the person has epilepsy.
Abstract. Throughout the world people who have epilepsy and seizures are prohibited from donating blood. These restrictions are based on the assumption that they are prone to adverse donor reactions, specifically, syncope and convulsions.
There are many possible causes of epilepsy, including an imbalance of nerve-signaling chemicals called neurotransmitters, tumors, strokes, and brain damage from illness or injury, or some combination of these. In the majority of cases, there may be no detectable cause for epilepsy.
Epilepsy and seizures can develop in any person at any age. Seizures and epilepsy are more common in young children and older people. About 1 in 100 people in the U.S. has had a single unprovoked seizure or has been diagnosed with epilepsy.
Your doctor may also suggest tests to detect brain abnormalities, such as: Electroencephalogram (EEG). This is the most common test used to diagnose epilepsy. In this test, electrodes are attached to your scalp with a paste-like substance or cap.
Some people with undiagnosed epilepsy may not even realize that the strange sensations or emotions they're experiencing are due to a seizure. Epileptic seizures can vary by the type of epilepsy causing them.
A seizure is a single occurrence, whereas epilepsy is a neurological condition characterized by two or more unprovoked seizures.
What if epilepsy is left untreated?
The consequences of epilepsy can be quite severe and include shortened lifespan, excessive bodily injury, neuropsychological and psychiatric impairment, and social disability. There is evidence that seizures cause brain injury, including neuronal death and physiological dysfunction.
People with epilepsy should get adequate sleep - enough to feel refreshed the next day. In general, adults should try for at least 7-8 hours a night. Going to bed late (for example, 3 a.m. instead of 11 p.m.) can be compensated for by sleeping late (10 a.m. instead of 6 a.m.) and thereby avoiding sleep deprivation.
While many forms of epilepsy require lifelong treatment to control the seizures, for some people the seizures eventually go away. The odds of becoming seizure-free are not as good for adults or for children with severe epilepsy syndromes, but it is possible that seizures may decrease or even stop over time.
Missed medication, lack of sleep, stress, alcohol, and menstruation are some of the most common triggers, but there are many more. Flashing lights can cause seizures in some people, but it's much less frequent than you might imagine.
During a high-density electroencephalogram (EEG) test, electrodes are placed on your scalp closely spaced together. Like conventional EEG , high-density EEG records brain activity. A high-density EEG test can help your doctor locate the area in your brain where seizures occur.
A guideline developed by the American Academy of Neurology recommends immediate brain CT scans to screen certain emergency room patients with seizures. Evidence shows such scans can help doctors select the right treatment option.
Stimulants such as tea, coffee, chocolate, sugar, sweets, soft drinks, excess salt, spices and animal proteins may trigger seizures by suddenly changing the body's metabolism. Some parents have reported that allergic reactions to certain foods (e.g. white flour) also seem to trigger seizures in their children.
Aura (Late Warning Signs)
Unusual smells, tastes, sounds, or sensations. Nausea. A Déjà vu feeling (you feel like you are experiencing something that has occurred before) Intense fear and panic.
The following drugs can cause seizures or interact with seizure medications: