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What causes epilepsy (seizure disorder)?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Seizure disorders, also known as epilepsy, can be caused by a wide variety of events and illnesses that result in injury to the brain. For example, traumatic head or brain injuries, strokes, brain tumors, heart attacks, dementia, developmental disorders, brain infections, prenatal injury, and a reduction in the amount of oxygen flowing to the brain can all cause epilepsy. These kinds of injuries and illnesses can lead to the disruption in normal electrical activity in the brain that causes seizures. In some people, epilepsy is caused by genetic disorders that are inherited from one or both parents. However, in over 50 percent of people with epilepsy, the direct causes of the seizure disorder cannot be identified.

Epilepsy can be inherited, or it can be caused by a brain injury-such as a stroke, a tumor or a blow to the head. Doctors have found more than 200 gene abnormalities that are associated with epilepsy. In many cases, however, doctors do not know why a patient begins experiencing seizures.

There are lots of different types of epilepsy. Sometimes epilepsy is caused by an infection or injury, a problem in the way the brain formed, or a genetic syndrome. Sometimes doctors don’t know exactly what causes epilepsy, but they are working on figuring that out and making new medicines to help.

Continue Learning about Epilepsy & Seizures Causes

Can Vagus Nerve Stimulation Help to Prevent Seizures?
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Can Vitamin Supplements Help to Prevent Seizures?
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How Well Do Anti-Seizure Medications Work?
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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.