Neurology Specialists located in Germantown, TN & Southaven, MS
About 3 million adults and 470,000 children in the United States have epilepsy. Board-certified neurologist Shiva Natarajan, MD, and the team at Memphis Neurology offer a full spectrum of epilepsy monitoring and treatment services, including vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), at two locations in Germantown, Tennessee, and Southaven, Mississippi. For a holistic approach to epilepsy treatment, call the nearest office or book an appointment online today.
What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes seizures, which are periods of abnormal brain activity. There are many types of seizures that cause a wide variety of symptoms. Some people with epilepsy experience uncontrollable muscle movements in their arms and legs, while others may only stare blankly into space.
Doctors classify seizures based on the area of your brain in which the abnormal activity occurs. Focal seizures affect only one part of your brain and generalized seizures involve all areas of the brain. Within these main groups, there are various subtypes of seizures, including tonic-clonic seizures (formerly known as grand mal seizures).
What are the symptoms of epilepsy?
Epilepsy symptoms vary widely and depend on the type of seizure. Signs and symptoms of a seizure include:
- Staring into space
- Rapid blinking
- Temporary confusion
- Crying out
- Loss of consciousness or awareness
- Falling to the ground
- Muscle spasms or jerking movements
- Unusual sensations, including taste and smell
- Inability to respond to questions for up to a few minutes
Many people with epilepsy have the same type of seizure each time, so the symptoms of one episode tend to be similar to the next. Seizures may last up to several minutes.
What tests and procedures can diagnose epilepsy?
The expert team at Memphis Neurology provides comprehensive care for epilepsy diagnosis and treatment. To diagnose your condition, they begin with a complete neurological exam. This may include tests such as:
- Blood tests
- Electroencephalogram (EEG)
- Neuropsychological tests
- Epilepsy Monitoring Unit
They use these tests to determine the type of seizure you experience, as well as where in your brain the seizures originate. This helps the team at Memphis Neurology create a personalized treatment plan.
What are the treatment options for epilepsy?
Memphis Neurology offers a holistic and integrative approach to epilepsy treatment. Medication is generally the first line of treatment for epilepsy. If medications don’t effectively relieve your seizure symptoms or if you find the side effects difficult to tolerate, they may recommend an alternative treatment, such as vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).
VNS involves implanting a stimulating device beneath the skin in your chest. The device sends electrical energy to your vagus nerve, which can reduce seizures by 20-40%. Other alternative treatments for epilepsy include eating a ketogenic diet and deep brain stimulation, which involves implanting electrodes into a specific part of your brain.
To learn more about alternative therapies for epilepsy management, call Memphis Neurology or book an appointment online today.