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Epilepsy - What Increases Your Risk

The risk for epilepsy increases if you have:

  • Family history of epilepsy.
  • Head injury (for example, a penetrating wound or skull fracture) with amnesia or loss of consciousness for more than 24 hours. The more severe the injury, the higher the risk.
  • Stroke or conditions that affect the blood vessels (vascular system) in the brain.
  • Brain tumor.
  • Brain infection, such as encephalitis or meningitis.
  • Lead poisoning.
  • Problems with brain development that occurred before birth.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Fever seizures that last a long time (also known as febrile convulsions).
  • Alzheimer's disease.

Epilepsy may develop even though you do not have any risk factors. This is especially true of many forms of childhood epilepsy.

Recommended Related to Epilepsy

Epilepsy Treatments: Find the Right Medication

Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes repeated episodes of unprovoked seizures. There is no cure for epilepsy, but medications may help keep symptoms under control. Epilepsy is almost always treated first with medication. Choosing the right one, however, can be challenging. There are at least 20 different drugs available to prevent seizures. Some have been around for decades. Many others have only been developed recently, and each drug comes with its own benefits and risks. Also, side effects...

Read the Epilepsy Treatments: Find the Right Medication article > >

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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