6750 N. MacArthur Blvd
Suite 250
Irving, TX 75039

Phone: (972) 253-4270
Fax: (972) 401-0458



Karen Bontia, MD | Neurology | contact us

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a disorder that causes sudden electrical firing inside the brain causing recurrent seizures. Epilepsy can occur at any age although there’s an increased risk of having the disease in early childhood and after 65 years old.

WWhat are the symptoms?

Seizure symptoms vary depending on which part of the brain fires abnormally. It is common to have a convulsion, where a patient loses consciousness and have shaking of the arms and legs. But seizure can also manifest as staring, confusion, difficulty speaking, twitching of the face or one limb, strange behavior. Symptoms usually last 30 seconds to a few minutes, rarely it can go on and on unless patient receives medication.

What causes it?

- Genes - play a significant role. - Any brain abnormality - a scar in the brain from a trauma/stroke/head injury, brain tumor, blood vessel anomaly, or developmental abnormalities can cause it. - Metabolic abnormalities - low blood glucose, low sodium, liver and kidney abnormalities - Brain infection - Certain medical conditions can also predispose one to developing seizures. - Medications including some anti-depressants and a few antibiotics can also cause seizure.

How do you evaluate it?

- Imaging of the brain, preferably MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), is needed to look for a possible cause of seizure. - EEG (electroencephalogram) records brain wave activity is also done because it can help determine what kind of epilepsy one had and also where the seizure starts. - Blood tests and urine tests are often needed to look for causes of seizures. - Rarely, more prolonged EEG testing and more specialized brain imaging may be needed.

What is the treatment?

Most people with epilepsy can be seizure-free with only one seizure medication. Others may only have decrease in seizure and frequency. There are many seizure medications available and finding the right medication and dose can be complex. Your doctor will likely start with only one drug at a low dose, increasing the dose gradually and/or changing the medication as needed to control the seizures.

Occasionally, seizures may not be controlled by medications alone. In these cases, a vagal nerve stimulator may be used. The vagal nerve stimulator is implanted underneath the skin in your chest and passes to the vagus nerve in the neck. The stimulator sends electric shocks to the vagus nerve which then reduce or control seizures.

When the seizures only come from a very small area in the brain, surgery to remove the diseased part of the brain may also be performed.

What can you do when you have epilepsy?

It is important to take medications around the same time everyday and not to miss a dose. Get enough sleep every day because sleep deprivation can provoke a seizure. Avoid stress and excessive alcohol use.

Contact Details

6750 N. MacArthur Blvd, Suite 250,Irving, TX 75039