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Epilepsy diagnosis

1-minute read

How is epilepsy diagnosed?

A diagnosis of epilepsy is based on your history of seizures. Your doctor will ask you what you can remember and any symptoms you may have had before it happened, such as feeling strange before the seizure or experiencing any warning signs. It may be useful to talk to anyone who witnessed your seizure and ask them exactly what they saw, especially if you cannot remember the seizure.

Your doctor may also do tests including blood tests, an EEG (electroencephalogram) and scans of the brain, such as CT scan (computed tomography) or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

Even with normal findings on EEG and brain scans a person may still have epilepsy, however, abnormal findings can help classifying the type of epilepsy involved.

If your child or someone you know has a seizure, it can be helpful to video it on your mobile phone. This can help your doctor make a more accurate diagnosis.

Last reviewed: December 2017

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