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Risk Factors for Epilepsy
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition. It is possible to develop epilepsy with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing epilepsy. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Risk factors for epilepsy include:
Any injury to the brain, either from external (environmental) or internal (medical/metabolic) sources can increase your risk of epilepsy.
|Side View of the Brain|
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Brain injury can be caused by:
- Head injury
- Alzheimers disease
- Tumors (primary or metastatic)
- Heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Any condition that deprives the brain of oxygen, such as near-drowning
- Sleep deprivation
- Infectious diseases, such as:
- Hydrocephalus (excess fluid in the brain)
- Celiac disease (intolerance to wheat gluten)
- Metabolic conditions, such as low blood sugar , high or low salt, low magnesium or calcium
In some cases, epilepsy can result from genetic abnormalities inherited at birth.
Different causes and types of seizures are more or less likely depending on your age.
In children, risk factors include:
- High fever
- Poor nutrition
Other factors that can increase your risk of epilepsy include:
Berkow R. The Merck Manual of Medical Information. 17th ed. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster; 2000.
Epilepsy Foundation website. Available at: http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov.
5/6/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Quet F, Guerchet M, et al. Meta-analysis of the association between cysticercosis and epilepsy in Africa. Epilepsia. 2010 ;51(5):830-837.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 03/2015
- Update Date: 03/15/2015