How Is Epilepsy Diagnosed?

Once a person has experienced a seizure, they may see a healthcare provider to figure out if they have epilepsy. Epilepsy is usually diagnosed using a combination of health information from the person who has seizures and results from medical tests.

Specific health information from the person who has seizures:

  • Specifics about the seizure
  • Family history of seizures
  • Other medical concerns
  • Current medications  
  • Input of people who witnessed any seizures, especially if there was a loss of consciousness

Medical tests:

  • A complete physical and neurological exam of muscle strength, reflexes, eyesight, hearing, and ability to detect various sensations
  • An electroencephalogram (EEG) test, which measures electrical impulses in the brain
  • Imaging studies of the brain, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Blood tests to measure certain chemicals in the body and to look for signs of infection

The results of these tests can be completely normal, even for a person who has epilepsy. However, normal test results do not exclude a diagnosis of epilepsy.