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How do other illnesses affect seizure disorders?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Seizure disorders, also known as epilepsy, can be caused by other illnesses that affect the brain. For example, Alzheimer's disease, strokes, brain tumors, and heart attacks have all been known to cause epilepsy. Illnesses that restrict the flow of oxygen to the brain can lead to epilepsy. For example, older adults are particularly at risk for epilepsy if they have cerebrovascular disease, which involves decreased blood flow to the brain. Metabolic disorders, such as problems with blood sugar or kidney or liver failure, can cause epilepsy. Infectious diseases that affect the brain can also cause epilepsy. These include:

  • meningitis;
  • viral encephalitis;
  • rabies;
  • syphilis;
  • AIDS;
  • malaria;
  • toxoplasmosis; and
  • tetanus.

Other illnesses that have found to cause epilepsy include hydrocephalus (a buildup of fluid in the brain), celiac disease (a wheat gluten intolerance), and parasitic infections of the brain.

In people who are born with birth defects or developmental disorders, such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy may be one symptom of their disorder.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.