Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You'll probably first bring your symptoms to the attention of your family doctor, who may refer you to a neurologist.

What you can do

To prepare for your appointment:

  • Write down any symptoms you have experienced. Include any that may seem unrelated to the reason you scheduled the appointment. If you have experienced different kinds of seizures, make a particular note of that. Do they affect different sides of the body? Do some affect speech and others not?
  • Make a list of all medications. Include vitamins and supplements you are taking, including dosages. Write down the reasons any were discontinued, whether because of side effects or lack of effectiveness.
  • Ask a family member to come with you to the doctor. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who goes with you may remember something you missed or forgot. Also, since memory loss can happen during seizures, many times an observer is able to better describe the seizures than is the person who's had them.
  • Write down questions. Preparing a list of questions for your doctor will help you make the most of your time together.

Some basic questions to ask include:

  • What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
  • Will I likely have more seizures? Will I have different types of seizures?
  • What kind of tests do I need? Do they require any special preparation?
  • What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
  • Are you prescribing medication? If so, is there a generic alternative?
  • I have other medical problems. How can they be managed together?
  • What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
  • Is surgery a possibility?
  • Will I have any restrictions on my activity? Will I be able to drive?
  • Are there brochures or other printed materials that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Did you notice any unusual sensations before the seizures?
  • How often do the seizures occur?
  • Can you describe a typical seizure?
  • How long do the seizures last?
  • Do the seizures occur in clusters?
  • Do they all look the same or are there different seizure behaviors you or others have seen?
  • What medications have you tried? What doses were used?
  • Have you tried any medication combination?
  • Have you noticed any seizure triggers, such as illness or lack of sleep?
  • Has anyone in your immediate family ever had seizures?

Your physical may include a neurological exam, which will assess:

  • Muscle strength
  • Sensory skills
  • Hearing and speech
  • Vision
  • Coordination and balance
Jul. 03, 2013

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