An Electroencephalogram, commonly referred to as an EEG, is a test that is used to detect electrical brain activity irregularities. The test monitors basic waveform in addition to measuring the brain's reaction to certain stimuli, for example, flashing lights.
If a neurologist suspects that a brain disorder of any type is the cause of symptoms the patient is having, an EEG is one of the most useful diagnostic tools. For example, spikes on the printouts of the brain activity are a key indicator of epilepsy. Brain lesions can often be identified through the very slow EEG waves in test results. When a person has symptoms of Alzheimer's disease or narcolepsy, EEG testing can be extremely helpful in making the diagnosis. If a patient was in an accident that may have resulted in brain injury, the EEG may be ordered as a way to determine whether there was brain damage.
Prior to the EEG, the neurologist will review the preparation procedure with each patient. Certain medications may have to be discontinued before having the EEG. Ideally, patients will cease caffeine consumption a minimum of 8 hours before having an EEG test. Any other food and beverage consumption is usually fine and, in fact, it is good to have stable blood sugar levels during an EEG. If the EEG test is related to sleep disorders, the doctor may give the patient specific instructions on how much to sleep before the test.
After an EEG, there are generally no lingering effects of the test. The patient can typically go back to their usual routine whenever they are ready to do so. The neurologist will review the results carefully to gather the necessary information and will then review them with the patient.
At Progressive Neurology & Sleep Medicine Associates, we accept the majority of private health insurance plans, as well as IEHP and most HMO's in our service area. Please call our office if you do not see your plan listed.
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