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What increases my risk for epilepsy (seizure disorder)?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Your risk for developing a seizure disorder, also known as epilepsy, increases if you have had one seizure already. For example, researchers in one study found that about a third of the people in the study who had one seizure ended up having a second seizure within four years, and almost three quarters of the people who had a second seizure also had a third seizure in that time frame. Aside from previous seizures, almost any type of accident or illness that damages your brain increases your risk for developing epilepsy. Head injuries, brain infections, brain tumors, and strokes, for example, all increase your risk. You are also at increased risk for epilepsy if it runs in your family, since it has been linked to genetic abnormalities that can be inherited from one or both parents. Aging is also a factor. As we grow older, the risk of developing epilepsy increases because it is more common in people over the age of 65.

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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.