Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, you or your child will probably be referred to a doctor who specializes in nervous system disorders (neurologist).
It's good to prepare for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and to know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you or your child is experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements you or your child takes.
- Write down questions to ask the doctor.
Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For absence seizure, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of these symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes?
- What kinds of tests are needed? Do these tests require special preparation?
- Is this condition temporary or long lasting?
- What treatments are available and which do you recommend?
- What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
- Are there any alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
- Are there any activity restrictions?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?
- Can my child also develop the grand mal type of seizure?
- How long will my child need to take medication?
- Can my child participate in physical activities, such as soccer, football and swimming?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions that occur to you.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
- When did you or your child begin experiencing symptoms?
- How often have the symptoms occurred?
- Can you describe a typical seizure?
- How long do the seizures last?
- Are you or your child aware of what happened?
- Absence seizures (also called petit mal). The Epilepsy Foundation. http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/about/types/types/seizureabsence.cfm?renderforprint=1&. Accessed March 23, 2011.
- FDA: Aseptic meningitis risk with use of seizure drug Lamactil. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm222212.htm. Accessed March 23, 2011.
- Hughes JR. Absence seizures: A review of recent reports with new concepts. Epilepsy & Behavior. 2009;15:404.
- Seizures and epilepsy: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/epilepsy/detail_epilepsy.htm?css=print. Accessed March 22, 2011.
- Practice parameter update: Management issues for women with epilepsy - Focus on pregnancy (an evidence-based review): Teratogenesis and perinatal outcomes. Neurology. 2009;73:133.
- Seizure disorders. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec16/ch214/ch214a.html. March 22, 2011.
- Schachter SC. Evaluation of the first seizure in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/index/home.html. Accessed March 22, 2011.
- Stafstrom CE, et al. Pathophysiology of seizures and epilepsy. http://www.uptodate.com/index/home.html. Accessed March 22, 2011.