How Can an EEG Test Help You?
If you have a neurologically based disorder or condition, an EEG can be a great medical solution for finding the diagnosis. A neurologist can get a better idea, through an electroencephalogram or EEG, about what is going on in your brain. This can assist a practitioner in determining specific health issues, such as epilepsy, head injuries, tumors, sleeping problems, or abnormal or subnormal behavior.
So, how does the doctor know how to make a diagnosis through EEG testing? How does this device operate so a physician can gain more insight about a specific nerve-based health complaint? Have you been asked to take this type of test? If so, the following information can give you further details on what to expect.
Learning More about the EEG Test Process
To determine if an EEG test is practical, you only need to answer one question, “How can an EEG test help you?”
The brain features billions of nerve cells. These cells produce small electrical impulses that fall in patterns called brain waves. During an EEG, a trained technician places a series of cables and electrodes onto your head and scalp. This is done so the EEG can record the brain wave activity. The electrodes amplify and record the electrical transmissions.
Types of EEG Test Equipment
A medically trained technician may perform an EEG, using one of two well-known methods.
Getting Test Results with Standard EEG
In the office, a standard EEG recording takes approximately an hour to complete. To ensure a successful outcome, the neurologist will give you detailed instructions on what you should eat and drink and what medicines to avoid beforehand.
Recording Brain Activity with an Ambulatory Video EEG
In order to conduct an ambulatory EEG, you must wear a small EEG recorder around your waist for several days or weeks. Therefore, “ambulatory” refers to walking. You will also be given a portable video camera to records parts of your day while wearing the EEG recorder.
You will record your activities in a daily journal. From this information, along with the video recordings, a neurologist makes comparisons. This helps him or her make connections between the EEG recordings and a patient’s daily activities and routines.
How and What Does an EEG Test Detect
An EEG test measures the electrical impulses in the brain. Therefore, it is not designed, as some fear, to transmit electricity to the brain. Instead, it is used to simply register abnormal brain activity. For example, if you suffer from seizures, an EEG shows where any abnormal activity originates, thereby making it valuable for diagnosing conditions such as epilepsy.
If the standard test does not detect correct brain wave patterns, you may be asked to undergo Video EEG ambulatory tracking.
Abnormal Brain Waves - When They Show Up
An EEG test can support a doctor’s diagnosis for detecting abnormal brain wave activity connected to a stroke, tumor, or head injury. EEG tests are also used to diagnose nerve-and-brain-related conditions such as headache or dizziness. Practitioners use the machine to diagnose dementia and verify brain death as well. Again, a technician usually performs the test.
Preparing for an EEG
If you’re asked to take an EEG test, you will need to prepare for the exam. Wash your hair and make sure it is free of styling lotions and gels. If your hair is long, do not pin it up, tie it behind your head, or braid it.
While you can eat your meals as usual, you need to refrain from drinking any beverage with caffeine or consuming a product with the ingredient 4 hours prior to testing. You should avoid napping before the EEG as well. Continue to take any prescribed medicines unless your doctor requests you to stop.
What Goes on During the Exam?
When you arrive for the test, the technician will ask you to either recline in a chair or lie back on a table. He or she will then attach about 20 small electrodes to your head using a washable fixative. The technician might request that you do some activities during the testing.
For instance, he or she may ask you to take deep breaths at a quicker-than-normal pace or open and close your eyes. During most of the session, you will simply lie back quietly and close your eyes.
After the technician gets done testing you, he or she will remove the electrodes and you’ll remove the glue, which was used to attach the electrodes, from your hair. You can take the test safely, as there are no known risks or side effects associated with this type of test.
Getting the Results of the Test
The neurologist will review and interpret the test results. You may receive a call with the results or the results may be shared with you at your next scheduled appointment. This test is often advised for anybody experiencing neurological discomfort that involves seizures.
Therefore, a doctor can review an EEG and see how any changes in the brain’s activity affect a seizure patient. A doctor may also frequently use the test to diagnose disorders of the brain that result from tumor growth or a head injury.
EEG Diagnosed Conditions
Neurologists use EEG testing, mainly, to diagnose and treat epilepsy as well as sleep problems, such as narcolepsy and insomnia, a variety of brain tumors, brain injury, infections of the brain, dementia, attention deficit disorder, behavioral delays in children, and behavioral disorders that disrupt normal daily living activities. By reviewing brain wave patterns, they can see how and why a patient is experiencing pain, discomfort, or physical or mental challenges.
Make an Appointment for an EEG Test Today
Getting an EEG to overcome problems with seizures or to obtain treatments for injury-related brain disorders or tumors can highly benefit the patient. If your doctor advises you to take the test, you will find that it offers a safe and effective way to determine how to proceed with treatment for brain-based health complaints.