What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is the name of a chronic neurological disorder in which a person has repeated seizures. Epileptic seizures are episodes that can vary from brief and nearly undetectable to long periods of vigorous shaking. There are many types of epilepsy, ranging from benign to intense.

What Causes Epilepsy?

There are many causes of epilepsy. Patients can have one or more of the following causes for their epilepsy:
  • Genetic or metabolic disorders present at birth
  • Prior infections such as meningitis and encephalitis
  • A history of trauma or brain injury
  • An underlying brain malformation
  • A history of stroke or brain tumor

Who Gets Epilepsy?

There are more than three million people in the United States with epilepsy; most of them are children and elderly people. Many notable historic and contemporary individuals have had or have epilepsy. Some of these people include:
  • Actor Danny Glover
  • Singer Prince
  • Chief Justice John Roberts
  • Pope Pius IX
  • Professional football player Jason Snelling

Signs and Symptoms of Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a medical condition that produces seizures. Epilepsy is defined as two or more seizures that cannot be traced to another brain event like a concussion or an extremely high fever. The two seizures are usually separated in time by 24 hours.

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