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Epilepsy Health Center

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When Should I Call the Doctor About Epilepsy?

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    If you have epilepsy, it's important to know when you need to call a doctor.

    In general, you should call your doctor if any new symptoms occur (although most patients notice only mild side effects that tend to go away over time). You should also call your doctor if you have side effects from your medication that might include:

    Recommended Related to Epilepsy

    Understanding Absence Seizure -- the Basics

    Affecting about two of every 1,000 people, absence seizures (formerly called ''petit mal'' seizures) are caused by abnormal and intense electrical activity in the brain. Normally, the brain's nerve cells (neurons) communicate with one another by firing tiny electric signals. But with a seizure, these signals become abnormal. Seizures may affect an isolated part of the brain or may involve abnormal activity in the whole brain (called generalized seizures). Absence seizures are one form of generalized...

    Read the Understanding Absence Seizure -- the Basics article > >

    • Any abnormal body movements, or problems with coordination
    • An increase in the number of seizures, or ongoing seizures
    • Loss of seizure control
    • Allergic reactions, including difficulty breathing, itching, hives, and swelling of your face or throat
    • Eye problems, including: blurred or double vision; spots before your eyes; or uncontrolled back-and-forth and/or rolling eye movements
    • Excessive drowsiness
    • Restlessness, excitement, or confusion
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Rash
    • Hair loss
    • Tremors
    • Blood in the urine or stool, dark-colored urine, or painful or difficult urination
    • Joint, muscle, or bone pain
    • Pain and/or swelling or bluish color in your leg or foot
    • Red, blue, or purple spots on your skin
    • Sores, ulcers, or white spots on your lips
    • Easy bruising
    • Swollen or painful glands
    • Infection
    • Extreme weakness or fatigue
    • Bleeding, tender, or enlarged gums
    • Fast or irregular heartbeat
    • Burning, tingling, pain, or itching, especially in the groin
    • Slurred speech or stuttering
    • Delusions or hallucinations
    • Behavioral, mood, or mental changes such as depression, agitation, or loss of appetite

    If you see someone who is having an epilepsy seizure, you should call an ambulance or 911 if:

    • The seizure lasts more than five minutes
    • Another seizure starts right after the first
    • The person can't be awakened after the movements have stopped
    • The person has several seizures and doesn't regain consciousness between them
    • The person is pregnant or has another condition, such as heart disease or diabetes
    • The person injures himself or herself during the seizure
    • The seizure happens in the water, or you think this might be the person's first seizure

    NOTE: Do not try to put something in the person's mouth. You can turn the person on his side to improve his breathing.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Richard Senelick, MD on July 15, 2014
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