What Causes Epilepsy?

There are many causes of epilepsy.  For the majority of people with epilepsy (60%), the cause cannot be found. This is sometimes called ‘idiopathic’ epilepsy. We also know that some genes can cause or predispose a person to develop epilepsy.

For others, some of the causes could include:

  • Brain abnormalities that occur in utero (before birth)
  • Low oxygen during birth
  • Brain injury, such as after a traumatic head injury
  • Brain infection, such as meningitis or encephalitis
  • Stroke, which can lead to scarring of the brain
  • Brain tumour, either benign or malignant
  • Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease
  • Another condition which increases the likelihood of developing epilepsy, such as Cerebral Palsy or Down syndrome.

Epilepsy is not contagious (you cannot ‘catch it’).

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