Epilepsy and Some of its Causes

Up to 10% of people will suffer a seizure at some point, but not all of them have epilepsy. Epilepsy is a term reserved for those who suffer repeatedly from seizures.

Epilepsy is a nervous system condition that causes electrical signals in the brain to misfire. These disruptions cause temporary communication problems between nerve cells, leading to seizures. One seizure is not considered epilepsy — kids with epilepsy have multiple seizures over a period of time.

Epileptic seizure->

Anything that disrupts the normal pattern of brain activity can trigger the condition. A specific cause can be identified in only about 30% of people with epilepsy.

COMMON CAUSES

* Head trauma

* A lack of oxygen during birth

* Infections such as meningitis

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* Stroke

* Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative brain disorders

* Brain tumors and other abnormalities in the brain‘s structure

* An imbalance of neurotransmitters or other chemical functions in the brain

In about half the cases of epilepsy, there is an identifiable cause. These include:

* infectious illness (such as meningitis or encephalitis)
* brain malformation during pregnancy
* trauma to the brain (including lack of oxygen) during birth or an accident
* underlying metabolic disorders
* brain tumors
* blood vessel malformation
* strokes
* chromosome disorders

The other half of epilepsy cases are idiopathic (the cause is unknown). In some of these, there may be a family history of epilepsy — a child who has a parent or other close family member with the condition is more likely to have it too. Researchers are working to determine what specific genetic factors are responsible.

Sources: Los Angles Times & http://www.charliebrewersworld.com/page4.htm

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