Causes of Epilepsy


Epilepsy: What Causes It and Why You Should Care

For roughly 50 million people worldwide, epilepsy is a daily struggle and the main cause of their seizures. To make matters worse, this number is growing at a staggering rate of 2.4 million new cases each year. So what are the causes of epilepsy exactly? This question can be difficult to answer because half of those diagnosed with the condition have no identifiable cause. Fortunately however, the other half of those suffering from epilepsy have various factors that their condition can be traced to. Knowing the possible causes of epilepsy is vital in acquiring treatment, but it is also important to know how the causes might differ between age groups.

The causes of epilepsy in adults mainly come down to some form of head injury and, unfortunately, genetics. It is estimated by researchers that up to 500 different genes can play a role in the development of epilepsy. If your family has a history of epilepsy this does not necessarily mean you will develop it as well, however. It just means you are more prone to environmental triggers that may cause it. The other factor, head injury, is usually caused by some form of trauma such as a car accident. In seniors, strokes are also a significant cause of head injury which may lead to epilepsy.

Like adults, children can also suffer from genetic conditions that may lead to the development of epilepsy. However, the main causes of epilepsy in children are usually illness and infections. High fevers brought upon by an illness can cause seizures in children, and if the seizure lasts long enough or aggravates other existing nervous system conditions, it can lead to epilepsy. Children suffering from a brain infection such as meningitis are also at a much higher risk of developing epilepsy, due to the inflammation in the brain or spinal cord.

Newborns are perhaps the most at risk for developing epilepsy due to a variety of reasons. The causes of epilepsy in infants can sometimes be traced to unhealthy behavior of the mother, such as drug use while pregnant, or sometimes even brain malformations. The mother bearing her unborn child must take the utmost care in ensuring she eats healthily to provide the proper nutrition to the infant, because this along with lack of oxygen during birth are significant causes of epilepsy in newborns. Unfortunately, other factors such as the improper development of the brain and intracranial hemorrhage which are not always preventable may lead to epilepsy.

It is important to understand that not all causes of seizures lead to epilepsy. However, those that do are in many cases treatable. It is necessary to be aware of the possible causes in order to help you or others seek the appropriate treatment.