There is a clear cause for epilepsy in only a minority of the cases. Typically, the known causes of seizure involve some injury to the brain. Some of the main causes of epilepsy include:
- low oxygen during birth
- head injuries that occur during birth or from accidents during youth or adulthood
- brain tumors
- genetic conditions that result in brain injury, such as tuberous sclerosis
- infections such as meningitis or encephalitis
- stroke or any other type of damage to the brain
In more than half of all cases, no cause can be found. The person with epilepsy is apparently healthy in every respect and there is no underlying illness, disease or damage causing them to have seizures. This kind of epilepsy is sometimes called idiopathic epilepsy.
Given the right circumstance, anyone can have a seizure. In fact, about one in eleven individuals will experience a seizure sometime in his/her life. However, the occurrence of epilepsy in the general population is less than 2% or about 2,000,000 people in the United States. Most epilepsy cases occur before the age of 18-21. Occurrence in older people is generally the result of stroke or tumor.
Epilpsey and Alzheimers
Individuals with Alzheimer’s are at greater risk for Epilepsy. There is some research to suggest the onset of seizures is a precusor to the development of Alzheimer’s. In later stages as brain atrophy occurs there may occur more severe seizures.