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Epilepsy is a general term for a condition in which a person's brain exhibits abnormally excited electric signals and impulses. It is a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. It’s also called a seizure disorder. When a person has two or more seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy."[1]

An epileptic seizure can take the form of jerking spasms which are uncontrollable. However, some people only experience staring spells while there are others who may even lose consciousness.


Causes and Prevalence

Typically, seizures from epilepsy are caused by a brain injury. But only a few cases of epilepsy have a clear-cut cause. A temproray condition may contribute to episodes of seizures such as exposure to drugs, withdrawal from certain drugs, a high fever, or abnormal levels of sodium or glucose in the blood. However, you should realize that if an underlying cause is treated and eliminated and when seizures do not occur again, that person does not have epilepsy.

Epilepsy are mainly caused by the following:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Brain tumors
  • Brain infections such as meningitis, encephalitis and neurosyphilis
  • Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • Low oxygen during birth, pre-existing problems before birth (congenital birth defects)
  • Head injuries near the time of birth, during birth or from accidents in early childhood
  • Kidney or liver failure

Approximately 30% of epileptic patients are children. The ones that are usually affected by this disorder are young children and elderly adults.

To cope better with epilepsy, one should at least know what triggers the seizures. By having proper rest and diet, staying away from illegal substances and alcohol, and not missing any medication doses can significantly reduce the number of seizures.

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  1. "About Epilepsy". Epilepsy Foundation. Accessed on November 21, 2008.