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Epilepsy Causes and Risk Factors

Causes of Epilepsy:

Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder, represented by recurrent, unprovoked seizures. Causes are numerous and vary by age of the person. There can be numerous causes for epileptic seizures and have been listed below:

  • Genetic History:
    There is a genetic clink to most of the epilepsy cases which leads to firing neurons. This can be due to some mutation in an individual gene or in the ways different genes collaborate with each other. Till date, there have been very little information available to test how and where these genetic interaction lead to epilepsy. Researchers however, have been able to identify and link some types of the diseases to specific genes. While some genes may be directly involved in causing seizures, other may make an individual more sensitive to environmental triggers that lead to seizures.
  • Head Trauma:
    Any accident that leads to head injury or trauma may lead to changes in the brain structure or affecting brain function may cause epilepsy.
  • Brain Conditions:
    Brain tumours and other conditions like stroke that significantly cause an alteration in your brain activity may also lead to increased predisposition. As cited in literature, stroke is one of the leading causes of epilepsy in adults older than age 35.
  • Infectious Diseases:
    Infections affecting the brain such as meningitis, AIDS and viral encephalitis, can cause epilepsy.
  • Prenatal Injury:
    As is known babies are highly prone to brain damage which can take place due to multitude of factors such as:

    • Severe infections in the mother
    • Poor nutrition or oxygen deficiencies
    • Prolonged instances of low levels of blood sugar and other nutritional deficiencies
    • pertaining to minerals and electrolyte
    • Inborn errors of metabolism
    • Intracranial hemorrhage
    • Maternal drug use

All of these can contribute towards development of neural dysfunctions in the child and can contribute significantly towards development of the diseases. Congenital conditions like Down’s syndrome also contribute significantly.

Risk Factors of Epilepsy:

There are many risk factors for epilepsy, few which can be addressed and others which may not be:

  • Age:
    It is more common in
    early childhood and late 60s, but if other risk factors coexist, it can happen in any age.
  • Family History:
    If you have a family history of epilepsy, you may be at an increased risk of developing epilepsy.
  • Head Injuries:
    In order to prevent its development due to head injuries, it is advisable to wear a secure and protective helmet when riding a two wheeler or doing other fun sports that may cause an head injury.
  • Stroke and Other Vascular Diseases:
    Any vascular diseases may increase your risk of developing its manifolds.
  • Dementia:
    It can increase the risk of epilepsy in older adults.

Also Read Epilepsies Frequently Asked Questions

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