Epilepsy and Neurology Services at UnityPoint Health | Des Moines

UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Altoona

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Urgent Care - Merle Hay

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Urgent Care - Urbandale

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About Epilepsy 

Seizures are caused by sudden bursts of excessive and uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain. Seizures can cause partial or complete loss of consciousness, confusion, nonsensical speech, bizarre behavior, involuntary muscle jerks or movements, unusual sensations, or loss of ability to speak.

One in ten persons will have a seizure during his or her life. The tendency to have recurrent unprovoked seizures is called epilepsy or seizure disorder. Epilepsy affects more than 3 million Americans. It has a considerable impact on health, employment, and quality of life.

Epilepsy Treatments 

  • Most patients respond to anti-epileptic medications. Currently there are over 20 seizure medications available.  However, many people will require other forms of treatment. 
  • Brain surgery to resect the abnormal brain tissue causing the seizures is increasingly being utilized for patients with intractable epilepsy. This is done after a very thorough evaluation. Not everybody qualifies for this surgery, and those patients may benefit from other treatments. 
  • Vagus Nerve stimulation uses a device to send electrical impulses through the vagus nerve to the brain. This can decrease seizure frequency in many patients who failed medications with relatively low risk of side effects. 
  • A high fat, low carbohydrate diet (ketogenic diet) has been found to decrease the frequency of seizures. It is a well-established therapy for children with intractable seizures, and is also used for adult patients with hard to treat seizures.
  • Many other innovative epilepsy therapies are being explored and carry great promise for patients and their care givers.