Exploring the Causes and Risk Factors of Epilepsy

Epilepsy, also known as “seizure” is a disorder of the nervous system due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. This condition causes various reactions in the human body such as daydreaming, tingling, impaired consciousness, convulsions and or muscle contractions. However, do you know what causes epilepsy? Want to know the answer? Check out the following review.

Causes of epilepsy in children and adults

At least once in a person’s lifetime has had a seizure. However, if seizures persist, this could be a symptom of epilepsy.

The exact cause of this disease is not known. However, examination of the brain showed abnormal electrical activity in the brain during a seizure.

Launching from the Mayo Clinic page, there are several factors and conditions that can cause abnormal activity in the brain that may also cause epilepsy in children and adults, including:

1. Genetics

Although rare, gene mutations that are inherited from parents can cause epilepsy in their offspring. That means, someone who has a family member with epilepsy, has the possibility of getting the same disease.

Usually, people with epilepsy that is caused by genes will show symptoms early. Whether it’s when they were babies, children, or in their teens.

Research has found that certain genes can make a person more sensitive to conditions that trigger seizures. The genes that cause epilepsy are SLC2A1, LGI1, and DEPDC5.

If there is epilepsy in your family, you should do a genetic test and consult a doctor. The goal, to see how big your chances of developing epilepsy. That way, doctors can get directions to take steps to prevent the development of the disease in the future.

2. Injuries to the head

Injuries to the head

Seizures which are one of the typical symptoms of epilepsy occur due to abnormal activity in the brain. Well, from this it can be concluded that an injury to the head, which is where your brain is located, can be the cause of epilepsy.

You can suffer a head injury from a vehicle accident, falling from a high place, or being hit by a heavy object on your head. This condition is estimated to affect 35 percent of children and 15 percent of adults.

The timing of epilepsy symptoms in head injury patients varies widely. About 50 percent of cases have a seizure within the first 24 hours, the remainder one to four weeks after the head injury occurs.

3. Brain problems

Brain problems

In addition to head injuries, other possible causes of epilepsy include damage to the brain from strokes and brain tumors. Stroke is known to be the main cause of epilepsy in adults aged 35 years and over.

A stroke is a condition where a blood vessel in the brain bursts or a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain. Your body has had one seizure after a stroke.

If you have not had epilepsy before, you are more likely to develop it later in life. Certain types of strokes that can cause severe bleeding, can lead to epilepsy in the near future.

While brain tumors cause abnormal tissue in the brain. This condition is known to trigger repeated seizures.

4. Presence of disease due to infection

Infections of the nervous system can result in seizure activity. These include infections of the brain and spinal cord or meningitis, infections of the brain or encephalitis, and viruses that affect the human immune system ( HIV ), as well as related human nervous and immune infections that can trigger epilepsy.

5. Impaired brain development and brain damage

The cause of epilepsy that occurs in infants or children is a developmental disorder, such as autism or neurofibromatosis. Autism makes your child experience convulsions and this occurs because of disorders of brain development during pregnancy whose cause is not known for sure.

Autism itself is a brain function disorder that affects the human ability to think and behave. Epilepsy can occur at the same time as autism or symptoms appear only after autism occurs.

While neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes the growth of tumors in nerve tissue that makes a person susceptible to cancer and seizures.

In addition, other causes of epilepsy that may affect infants and children are brain damage due to the mother being infected, lack of oxygen, or poor nutrition.

Causes of high risk of epilepsy

In some people, the risk of epilepsy may be greater than in others. Well, some factors that can increase the risk of epilepsy are:

1. Age

Epilepsy generally occurs in young children and the elderly. Usually, small children who are only 1 or 2 years old will experience seizures or seizures due to epilepsy. After a person’s age reaches 35 years and over, the rate of new cases of epilepsy that begins to appear also increases.

2. Doing high activity causes brain injury

Brain damage or injury occurs when brain cells known as neurons become destroyed. This can be caused by physical damage, including post-surgery on the brain, accidents, bumps, and things that damage the nerves of the human brain.

This condition is very likely to occur in people who work at high altitudes, racers, boxers, or who work by operating vehicles.

3. Have heart disease and dementia

People who have heart disease are prone to stroke. Yes, this is because the heart, which is in charge of pumping blood throughout the body, has a problem, thereby blocking the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the brain. This stroke will later be the cause of epilepsy.

The risk is also present in people with dementia, which is a group of disorders of brain function that affect the ability to think, communicate and socialize. This disease over time can damage brain cells and may trigger abnormal activity in the brain causing the body to convulse.

Causes of relapsing epilepsy

Epilepsy is a disease that recurs. Symptoms can appear anytime and anywhere. In addition to understanding the underlying cause of the disease, you also need to know the cause of the recurrence.

More specifically, here are some things that can cause people with epilepsy to experience a relapse:

1. Skipping medication doses. Epileptics are required to take antiepileptic drugs regularly to prevent the recurrence of symptoms. If you miss a dose or don’t take your medication as directed by your doctor, your symptoms may recur. Therefore, the drug must be taken regularly according to the doctor’s instructions.

2. Lack of sleep and stress. Lack of sleep can interfere with electrical activity in the brain which can later cause epilepsy symptoms to recur. In addition, this condition is also easier to make you stressed. As a result, the risk of relapse will be greater.

3. Drink too much alcohol. Uncontrolled drinking habits can also cause epilepsy symptoms to recur. We recommend that during the treatment period, you need to stop this habit.

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