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:
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:
Other factors that can increase your risk of epilepsy include:
Epilepsy in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115086/Epilepsy-in-adults. Updated June 3, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2016.
Epilepsy in children. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900174/Epilepsy-in-children. Updated May 5, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2016.
NINDS epilepsy information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/epilepsy/epilepsy.htm. Updated February 21, 2013. Accessed February 22, 2013.
Seizure disorders. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/seizure-disorders/seizure-disorders. Updated May 2012. Accessed February 22, 2013.
What are the risk factors? Epilepsy Foundation website. Available at: http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/epilepsy-101/what-are-risk-factors. Accessed February 17, 2014.
5/6/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115086/Epilepsy-in-adults: Quet F, Guerchet M, Pion SD, Ngoungou EB, Nicoletti A, Preux PM.. Meta-analysis of the association between cysticercosis and epilepsy in Africa. Epilepsia. 2010;51(5):830-837.
Last reviewed March 2016 by Rimas Lukas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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