How often is epilepsy misdiagnosed for other conditions?

doctor_and_patientUnfortunately, epilepsy is often confused for other conditions, and may not be correctly diagnosed for months or years after the first seizure.

The problem with misdiagnosis can affect patients in one of two ways:
 

  • They may be incorrectly diagnosed with epilepsy
  • They may be diagnosed with another condition, preventing them from effectively treating their epilepsy

Conditions That May Be Misdiagnosed as Epilepsy

An estimated 1 in 3 patients who are diagnosed with epilepsy are suffering from a different kind of medical condition. A variety of ailments can mimic the symptoms of epilepsy, including:

  • Other seizure disorders. A patient who is suffering from diabetes or a high fever may suffer seizures as a result, but these conditions are not considered epilepsy.
  • Migraines. Patients who suffer chronic, severe headaches have many symptoms in common with epileptics, including dizziness, vomiting, distraction, and seeing an “aura” before an episode.
  • Brain inflammation. Two common forms of swelling that can result in seizures are encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord).
  • Sleep disorders. People who suffer from sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, sleepwalking, or chronic muscle spasms while asleep may exhibit lack of attention or loss of consciousness during the day, common in epileptic patients.
  • Movement disorders. Some patients who suffer from motor problems or involuntary muscle contractions are incorrectly diagnosed as suffering from seizures.
  • Eclampsia. Pregnant women diagnosed with preeclampsia have high blood pressure problems. This condition is often a precursor to a far more serious concern, eclampsia, when the mother suffers seizures. If treated correctly, women experiencing eclampsia won't have any future episodes after the baby is delivered.
  • Brain and psychological trauma. Isolated seizures may occur in patients with head injuries, while behavioral changes are common in those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

 

If you're accurately diagnosed with epilepsy and unable to work due to complications from the disease, our attorneys can help you get the Social Security benefits you deserve. Call us today or fill out the form on this page to set up your consultation with a Social Security attorney.