Epilepsy Information

Defining the Epilepsy Type

Why is so important to know the epilepsy type?
 Treatment: some types of epilepsy will respond to particular groups of medications while they could get worse with others. 
• Progression: each type of epilepsy will have a particular evolution. For example, benign rolandic epilepsy will be outgrown by adolescence; juvenile myoclonic epilepsy is relatively easy to control with medication, however, without medication it will relapse and so on.

How do we diagnose the type of epilepsy?
There are two main factors that we consider:
• Type of epileptic seizures:
  - Generalized epilepsy: Can have one or more types of generalized seizures (i.e. absence, myoclonic or/and generalized tonic-clonic seizures), but it does not have partial seizures.
  - Partial epilepsy (also called “localization-related epilepsy” or “Focal Epilepsy”): Can have one or more types of partial seizures (i.e. simple partial, complex partial and secondary generalized tonic-clonic seizures). 
• Cause of the epilepsy
  - Idiopathic: we do not know the cause
  - Symptomatic: we do know the cause

How do we investigate the cause of epilepsy?
We use some information including the family history of epilepsy (to see the whether there is an hereditary component), blood work (to see whether there is an underlying problem such as a thyroid problem), and imaging such as CT or MRI (to see whether there is a structural problem as might be a brain tumor, stroke, etc)

How are epilepsies classified? (click HERE)