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January 6, 2001


Question from San Rafael, California, USA:

My 16 year old daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 13 based on the fact she had two morning seizures. How do I know it wasn't hypoglycemia? She has now been off the Tegretol [an anti-seizure medication] for seven months seizure-free for three years. Is a hypoglycemic seizure just like an epileptic seizure?


I take it that your daughter does not have diabetes.

There are many types of seizures, and it is not possible to diagnose hypoglycemia on the basis of any special characteristic of an episode.

To exclude hypoglycemia as the cause of the initial two seizures you really need to talk to your daughter’s doctor because he/she will know exactly what tests were done at the time of diagnosis. It is unlikely though that any organic cause of hypoglycemia would not have reasserted itself in the interval since Tegretol was discontinued.