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All about epilepsy seizures types of epilepsy common types of epilepsy types of seizures causes of epilepsy causes of children epilepsy factors triggering epilepsy symptoms of epilepsy diagnosis of epilepsy treatments for epilepsy epilepsy medications epilepsy surgery vagus nerve stimulation epilepsy diet prevention of epilepsy epilepsy in children pregnancy and epilepsy difference between seizures and epilepsy grand mal seizure absence seizure (petit mal seizure) febrile seizure epileptic seizures status epilepticus causes of seizures

What causes epilepsy?

Unlike some medical conditions, epilepsy is not necessarily something a person is born with. Illness, infection, injury and even exposure to toxic substances can play a large part in a person's risk of developing epilepsy. Epilepsy is often, but not always, the result of an underlying brain disease. Any type of brain disease can cause epilepsy, but not all people with the same brain disease will have epilepsy. In view of the fact that only a proportion of people who have a brain disease

experience seizures as a symptom of that disease, it is suspected that those who do have such symptomatic seizures are more vulnerable due to biochemical/neurotransmitter reasons.

The causes of epilepsy are not known, but some scientists believe that seizures can result from a number of unrelated conditions, including damage resulting from high fever, stroke, toxicity, or electrolyte imbalances. Generalized tonic/clonic seizures may occur in any person under certain circumstances, including fevers and drug overdoses, but these patients are not typically classified as epileptics. Epilepsy connotes that an individual has seizures which recur over time in an unpredictable fashion. In 70% of all cases, there is no cause for epilepsy that is currently detectable at the state of the art. Some claim that it can occur in anyone at any age with no apparent etiological basis. In the other 30% of cases, abnormal electrical activity can be detected in the brain.

The most common ages of onset for epilepsy are for those under the age of 18 and those over the age of 65. It has been estimated that about 4% of the population has some form of epilepsy, but some theorize that the incidence may be much higher in fact. A significant and measurable decline in cognitive function is known to be associated with epilepsy although it has not been entirely clear to what extent this is due to the epilepsy itself or to the drugs used to treat it. Newer anti-epileptic drugs are considered by some to have less severe cognitive effects than older drugs. On an individual level, a person's reaction to epileptic seizures and/or anti-epileptic drugs may be idiosyncratic so it is sometimes difficult to predict how a particular person might be affected.

Mutations in several genes have been linked to some types of epilepsy. Several genes that code for protein subunits of voltage-gated and ligand-gated ion channels have been associated with forms of generalized epilepsy and infantile seizure syndromes. Several ligand-gated ion channels have been linked to some types of frontal and generalized epilepsies. Epilepsy-related mutations in some non-ion channel genes have also been identified.

There are still many people for whom the cause of their epilepsy cannot, as yet, be identified. In such cases, the theory most commonly accepted is that this epilepsy is the result of an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain (especially chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters) causing them to have a low convulsive threshold. Children and adolescents are more likely to have epilepsy of unknown or genetic origin. The older the patient, the more likely it is that the cause is an underlying brain disease, such as a brain tumour or cerebrovascular disease, or is the result of head injury. Trauma and brain infection can cause epilepsy at any age, and as mentioned previously may account for a higher incidence of epilepsy in developing countries. For example, a common cause in Latin America is neurocysticercosis cysts on the brain caused by tapeworm infection, while in Africa, malaria and meningitis are common causes, and in India neurocysticercosis and tuberculosis often lead to epilepsy. Febrile illness of any kind can trigger seizures in the womanng children. About 3% of children who have febrile convulsions go on to develop epilepsy in later life.

More information on epilepsy (seizures)

What is epilepsy? - Epilepsy is a general term that includes various types of seizures. Epilepsy is characterized by unprovoked, recurring seizures that disrupt the nervous system.
What are seizures? - Seizures (or convulsions) are temporary alterations in brain functions due to abnormal electrical activity of a group of brain cells that present with apparent clinical symptoms and findings.
What types of seizures are there? - The two main categories of seizures include partial seizures and generalized seizures. A partial seizure can evolve to a generalized seizure.
What types of epilepsy are there? - There are several types of epilepsy. Epilepsy can be divided into two broad categories: idiopathic epilepsy and symptomatic epilepsy.
What're the common types of epilepsy? - The most common types of epilepsy are absence epilepsy, temporal lobe epilepsy, frontal lobe epilepsy, occipital lobe epilepsy, and parietal lobe epilepsy.
What causes epilepsy? - Epilepsy may be caused by a number of unrelated conditions, including damage resulting from high fever, stroke, toxicity, or electrolyte imbalances.
What causes children epilepsy? - There are many possible causes of epilepsy in children. Seizures in infants and children may be due to birth defects, difficulties during delivery, or poisoning.
What factors will trigger epilepsy? - The triggers of epilepsy include inadequate sleep, food allergies, alcohol and smoking, flashing lights, developmental anomalies, and brain tumours.
What're the symptoms of epilepsy? - There are many forms of epilepsy, each with its own characteristic symptoms. The basic symptom of epilepsy is a brief and abnormal phase of behavior.
How is epilepsy diagnosed? - Making an accurate diagnosis is vital in planning the correct treatment to control seizures. Taking a medical history can help rule out non-epilepsy conditions.
What're the treatments for epilepsy? - For most people with epilepsy, treatment can reduce or prevent seizures and allow many patients to remain free of seizures for the rest of their lives.
What epilepsy medications are available? - Epilepsy is often treated with medication, neurocybernetic prostheses. Medications available for the treatment of seizures include phenytoin, carbamazepine, divalproex.
What epilepsy surgeries are available? - Surgical techniques to remove injured brain tissue may be appropriate for many patients with epilepsy. The most common surgery for epilepsy is temporal lobectomy.
What is vagus nerve stimulation? - Vagus nerve stimulation is a recently developed form of seizure control which uses an implanted electrical device.
What epilepsy diet is suggested? - It is believe that a restricted caloric intake while on a balanced diet can lead to measurable seizure reduction among all age groups.
How to prevent epilepsy? - Effective actions for the prevention of epilepsy include adequate pre-natal and post-natal care, safe delivery, control of fever in children, control of parasitic diseases.
Epilepsy in children - Epilepsy is a common childhood disorder. The prospect of control by means of anti-epileptic drugs is good in most children with epilepsy.
Pregnancy and epilepsy - Women with epilepsy who become pregnant have a higher risk for complications than women who don't have epilepsy.
Difference between seizures and epilepsy - Seizures are a symptom of epilepsy. Epilepsy is the underlying tendency of the brain to produce a sudden burst of electrical energy.
What's a grand mal seizure? - A grand mal seizure is a seizure involving the entire body, usually characterized by muscle rigidity, violent rhythmic muscle contractions, and loss of consciousness.
What's absence seizure (petit mal seizure)? - Absence seizure e - also known as petit mal seizure - is a type of seizure that most often occurs in children.
What is a febrile seizure? - A febrile seizure is a convulsion in a child triggered by a fever. A febrile seizure may be as mild as the child's eyes rolling or limbs stiffening.
What are epileptic seizures? - An epileptic seizure, often referred to as a fit, occurs when there is an abnormal discharge of neurones in the brain.
What is status epilepticus? - Status epilepticus is a continuous seizure state. Status epilepticus is most often caused by not taking anticonvulsant medication as prescribed.
What causes seizures? - Seizures may be caused by many conditions, diseases, injuries, and other factors. Injuries that may cause seizures include choking, head injury.
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