Definition

A neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions, associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

Types

There are three major groups of seizures:

Statistics

Risk Factors

Epilepsy may have no identifiable cause, or may be traced to various factors:

  • Brain conditions (tumors, strokes)
  • Developmental disorders (autism, neurofibromatosis)
  • Genetics
  • History of head trauma
  • Infectious disease (meningitis, AIDS, encephalitis)
  • Perinatal (before birth) injury

Prevention

While epilepsy cannot be prevented, in most cases, seizures associated with the condition can be prevented by modifying or avoiding triggers.

  • Avoid bright, flashing lights and other visual stimuli.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol
  • Decrease screen time (TV, computer, video games)
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Manage stress
  • Sleep: get enough, and stick to a schedule
  • Take all medications as prescribed

Vaccinations

People with a chronic disease are at higher risk for serious problems from certain diseases. Getting vaccinated is an important step in staying healthy.

The CDC recommends all adults receive:

  • Influenza – recommended every year, age 6 months and older
  • Tdap – (if an adult did not receive it as an adolescent to protect against pertussis (whooping cough), and then a Td (tetanus, diphtheria) booster shot every 10 years.

Talk to your doctor about which other vaccines are right for you.

COVID-19 and Epilepsy

Available data suggests that having epilepsy does not increase the risk of getting COVID-19 or increase the severity of the disease.

Resources

Support Groups