Epilepsy is diagnosed when a person has more than one episode of epileptic seizures. Learn more about epilepsy symptoms and seizure attacks.
A seizure is an abnormal electrical discharge of a group of brain cells. It can cause different symptoms, depending on the location of the seizure and the spread of electrical activity through the brain.
A person has epilepsy when he/she has more than one episode of seizures or if assessed to have a high risk of having recurrent seizures.
People who experience a stroke, brain injury, infection or tumour can have epilepsy. In around half the cases, a cause cannot be found.
Triggers of seizures in patients with epilepsy include stress, lack of sleep, menstruation, concurrent infection and skipping medications.
There are two main types of seizures:
If a person experiences continuous seizures for more than 3-5 minutes, or on and off seizures without regaining consciousness in between, call 995 or go to the Emergency Department immediately. He/she is having a severe seizure, and this is a medical emergency.
Epilepsy is diagnosed based on information of events that happened during the attack. Tests may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis, type and cause.
This test records the electrical activity of the brain through electrodes attached to the patient's head. The patient may be asked to perform simple tasks during the EEG recording.
Either form of imaging may be required to look for structural causes of seizures.
REDUCE risk of seizures:
Prevent complications of seizures by AVOIDING the following:
Anti-epileptic medications are the first-line treatment. Different types of medication may be prescribed. The more common side effects include sleepiness and dizziness.
Patients with focal seizures and are not responding to medications may consider surgery.
Keep a seizure diary to record the number, type and triggers of seizures. This will help your doctors assess the effectiveness of medications.
When someone is having a seizure:
Singapore Epilepsy Foundation
The Singapore Epilepsy Foundation provides support for epilepsy patients with their caregivers and increases public awareness of epilepsy. For more information, contact 6334 4302 or visit www.epilepsy.com.sg
Epilepsy Care Group (Singapore)
The Epilepsy Care Group (Singapore) provides education and counselling for epilepsy patients and their caregivers while promoting public awareness to find out more, contact 6358 0566 or visit www.epilepsycare.com.sg
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This article was last reviewed on
Thursday, December 9, 2021
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