Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain that causes seizures and can affect people in different ways. Seizures can be mild and barely noticeable, such as staring spells or twitches to the extremities, while others may be violent and harmful to the individual. Since epilepsy and seizures can occur in many different ways to many different people, diagnosing and treating the disorder is often challenging to patients and physicians.
The causes of epilepsy are just as challenging and can be caused by different conditions that affect a person’s brain. Often the cause is unknown, but some conditions that lead to epilepsy are stroke, brain tumor, traumatic brain injuries, head injury, and central nervous system infection. Seizures are the main sign of epilepsy and typically a person is diagnosed with epilepsy when they have had two or more seizures.
Generalized seizures affect both sides of the brain.
Focal seizures are located in just one area of the brain. These seizures are also called partial seizures.
Seizures may last as long as a few minutes.
A person who has a seizure for the first time should talk to a healthcare provider, such as a doctor or nurse practitioner. The provider will talk to the person about what happened, and look for the cause of the seizure. Many people who have seizures take tests such as brain scans for a closer look at what is going on. The most important step is to speak with your provider.
There are many things a provider and person with epilepsy can do to stop or lessen seizures. The most common treatments for epilepsy are:
Sometimes we can prevent epilepsy. These are some of the most common ways to reduce your risk of developing epilepsy:
UTMB Health has a dedicated epilepsy treatment program under the direction of Dr. Todd Masel. Dr. Masel is board certified in both Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology and is the Director of the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU).
The Epilepsy Monitoring Unit was created to help patients understand their seizures and determine the best possible treatment options for patients to regain their lives.
As part of your evaluation at our Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU), we'll record your typical events for better diagnosis and/or to adjust your antiepileptic medication safely. To record your events, we use a video camera, microphones and continuous EEG recording. We do these so your doctor can learn more about your seizures and provide the best possible care for you.
John Sealy Hospital, 9th Floor
8th and Market St.
Galveston, Texas 77555
Dr. Todd Masel
After receiving his under graduate education at the University of Texas in Austin, Dr. Masel attended medical school at UTMB in Galveston, where he also completed his Neurology residency training. He then completed a Clinical Neurophysiology fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, before returning to UTMB as a faculty member. He is currently the Director of the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, the Co-director of the EEG Department, and the Associate Director of the Neurology residency program. He is board certified in both Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology. He practices Neurology, with a special emphasis on Epilepsy.