Epilepsy Talk

Which of these is the cause of your epilepsy? | January 7, 2023

In some 6 out of 10 cases, epilepsy is idiopathic — meaning the cause is unknown. In other cases, epilepsy can be traced to an abnormality of the structure or function of the brain.

These abnormalities can arise from traumatic brain injuries, strokes and other vascular problems, infections of the nervous system (meningitis or encephalitis), congenital malformations, brain tumors or metabolic abnormalities.

Seizures can literally begin at any time for any number of reasons.

Here are just a few of them.

Which pertain to you?

Age. The onset of epilepsy is most common in children and older adults, but the condition can occur at any age.

Prenatal injury. Before birth, babies are sensitive to brain damage that could be caused by several factors, such as an infection in the mother, poor nutrition or oxygen deficiencies. This brain damage can result in epilepsy or cerebral palsy.

Genetic influence. Some types of epilepsy, which are categorized by the type of seizure you experience or the part of the brain that is affected, run in families. In these cases, it’s likely that there’s a genetic influence. Researchers have linked some types of epilepsy to specific genes, but for most people, genes are only part of the cause of epilepsy. Certain genes may make a person more sensitive to environmental conditions that trigger seizures.

Seizures in childhood. High fevers in childhood can sometimes be associated with seizures. Children who have seizures due to high fevers generally won’t develop epilepsy. The risk of epilepsy increases if a child has a long fever-associated seizure, another nervous system condition or a family history of epilepsy.

Developmental disorders. Birth abnormalities affecting the brain are a frequent cause of epilepsy, particularly in people whose seizures aren’t controlled with anti-seizure medications. Some birth abnormalities known to cause epilepsy include focal cortical dysplasia, polymicrogyria and tuberous sclerosis. Epilepsy can also be associated with developmental disorders such as autism.

Brain conditions. Most cases of epilepsy in people older than 35 happen because of brain damage from a stroke or even after brain surgery. Other brain problems that can trigger epilepsy include: Tumor, blood vessel problems, like the hardening of your brain’s arteries, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

Brain infections. Infections such as meningitis, which causes inflammation in your brain or spinal cord, can increase your risk, along with HIV, viral encephalitis and some parasitic infections.

Immune disorders. Conditions that cause your immune system to attack brain cells (also called autoimmune diseases) can lead to epilepsy.

Head or brain trauma. Either can trigger seizures. Sometimes they go away. If they do, you don’t have epilepsy. However, if they continue, that’s a sign that you have post-traumatic epilepsy, or PTE. It can also happen during birth. You may not get epilepsy until long after your brain injury — sometimes years later.

Stroke and other vascular diseases. Stroke and other blood vessel (vascular) diseases can lead to brain damage that may trigger epilepsy. You can take a number of steps to reduce your risk of these diseases, including limiting your intake of alcohol and avoiding cigarettes, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.

Metabolic causes. Your body contains enzymes that are responsible for processing the food you eat. If there is a problem in one of these enzymes, this can lead to issues breaking down food or making the energy your body needs to function.

Dementia. Dementia can increase the risk of epilepsy in older adults.

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  1. Add to the long list: “oops!” by a surgeon doing routine eye surgery, as happened to a friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by HoDo — January 7, 2023 @ 11:25 AM

  2. So why AGAIN ? did you leave out the EXCITOTOXINS problems in our drugs & foods alike, & non-food & drug items ? You can not ignore what has been happening to the entire world population for over 85 years now when this all started before the end of WW2. So let’s all go to the SUPERMARTKET & buy up cheap & unsafe foods to eat. Better yet go to McDonalds & other fast foods everyday or this week, month, or this season. Why is it, that today in all BRAND NAME ” neurological drugs,” & especially AED’s, you have ALUMINUM found in all drugs except for 1 tablet of a dose they make that has NO ALUMINUM in that strength of drug ? The VIMPAT 100MG tablet & XCOPRI 50 MG tablet are 2 doses with no listing of ALUMINUM in it, not to say any traces of it is under some other name I am not aware of. I am sure by now my neurologist would had expected me to have any slight signs of DEMENTIA, but I am at least 30 years ahead of all these neurologist, knowing how I know how ALUMINUM does some crazy things to my brain & how I learned about it over 25 to 30 years ago. Same with the foods & all that what they have in them, as generic drugs are 1000X’s worse to take than brand name drugs are. As I always say,, THE BRAIN NEVER LIES, but it can confuse you IF you have no idea what you are feeding it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by James D — January 7, 2023 @ 11:41 AM

    • I guess that’s a thorough way of saying “metabolic causes”.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — January 7, 2023 @ 11:46 AM

      • I know 1000% sure that I can not eat NITRATES & NITRITES in foods for 2 days in a row. XCOPRI for me has been a life changer, and for most to all the foods that I ALWAYS stayed away from for decades, I now gamble a little bit here & there, just to see & live with NO SEIZURE SYMPTOMS AT ALL, and when I did press my luck 2 days in a row eating pizza with PEPPERONI on it, MORE the 2nd time, well later that evening I was having aura feelings, & my LOBELIA I grabbed & stopped it all, as I looked my my eye pupils to dilate but they did not, which was always a sign the worse was going to happen. Since then I kinda fasted again, which is not hard for me to stay away from the TOXIC FOODS, as I do believe teenagers & lids could take smaller doses of the XCOPRI part of the 50 MG formula only, because ALUMINUM is in the other strengths and THAT will kill any younger brain chemistry or older brain chemistry as well.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by James D — January 7, 2023 @ 4:47 PM

      • Thanks James, Seems like there is is a need for us all to have access to a test kit that would inform us where our aluminum levels are

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Donald N — January 7, 2023 @ 5:17 PM

  3. Reblogged this on Disablities & Mental Health Issues.


    Comment by Kenneth — January 7, 2023 @ 12:02 PM

  4. Interesting blog. It has to be Prenatal injury for me as I was born with Cerebral Palsy in right side of body and around 11/12yrs developed epilepsy which is on right side of brain!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kenneth — January 7, 2023 @ 12:06 PM

  5. My son’s epilepsy is as a result of a cancerous malformation. Even though it was removed, he continued to have seizures.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by lmillerwnc — January 7, 2023 @ 12:11 PM

  6. If you have epilepsy of unknown origin and were born in the United States between 1939 and 1971, your mother may have been given diethylstilbestrol (DES) to prevent miscarriage or, if you believed the marketing, to produce a perfect baby.

    DES is a hormone disrupter. It does not prevent miscarriage. It can cause all kinds of fetal defects, including brain damage leading to seizure disorders. Effects can be seen in subsequent generations. See desaction.org for details.

    Note that some other countries still sanction DES for human use.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by HoDo — January 7, 2023 @ 1:00 PM

  7. Uterine arteriovenous malformation (AVM) developed in uterus

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Pia — January 7, 2023 @ 1:03 PM

  8. Developmental Disorders because I have Tuberous Sclerosis

    Genetic Influence my dad had epilepsy

    Seizures in Childhood because when I got sick I could spike the highest fevers.
    that’s all I can come up with and I think that is plenty. I remember when they told my parents it was Idiopathic Epilepsy.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Bonnie — January 7, 2023 @ 1:46 PM

    • That’s a lot of “idiopathic epilepsies” to stuff under one umbrella! 😒


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — January 7, 2023 @ 1:50 PM

      • In 2004 when my grandson Cameron was born the doctors were doing medical history. When they came to me they were so excited to talk to me. 5 doctors all geneticists had a black light looking at all my white spots so there in Primary Children’s Medical Center I was diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis at the age of 42.
        It has been since 2004 I now have much more knowledge about what is happening with my head.
        I was sent to see a specialist who knew me from when I was a toddler. He knew my family and really blew my mind.
        Also thank you for all the time you put into making my life more informed.🙏

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Bonnie — January 7, 2023 @ 2:23 PM

  9. Well done Phylis and all the follow up comments, a great start to 2023

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Donald — January 7, 2023 @ 2:36 PM

  10. Probably developmental disorder and/or genetic influence. I was born with epilepsy and on tablets at 5 days of age. And a third cousin of mine has severe epilepsy with MS and other problems in a wheelchair.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Robert Poloha — January 7, 2023 @ 4:16 PM

  11. Don’t know if mine really falls into any of these, but when I had my brain surgeries 2008-09 they did a biopsy of the part they removed and resected (right Frontal lobe, also had a Corpus Callosotomy-cut the front of my Corpus Collosum) and said I had what were supposed to be kidney cells in my brain. I also have Chiari Malformation, Empty Sella Syndrome, and Pseudotumor Cerebri/IIH, so I imagine some of those probably have an impact on my seizures.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Alainna Robles — January 27, 2023 @ 5:31 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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