Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which clusters of nerve cells or neurons in the brain sometimes signal abnormally. In epilepsy, the normal pattern of neuronal activity becomes disturbed, causing strange sensations, emotions and behavior, or sometimes convulsions, muscle spasms and loss of consciousness.
When a person has two or more seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy.
Epilepsy has many possible causes, including illness, brain injury and abnormal brain development. In many cases, the cause is unknown. EEGs and brain scans are common diagnostic tests
Most epilepsy cases cannot be traced to a specific cause. Certain behaviors that can trigger a seizure include alcohol and drug abuse. There is also the possibility of a genetic predisposition toward epilepsy. Some of the major risk factors for epilepsy cannot be controlled, such as central nervous system infections, cerebral tumors and cerebral vascular disease.
Because epilepsy is most strongly linked to head trauma, the best form of prevention is to take reasonable precautions. Do not dive if you are unfamiliar with the depth of an area, always wear your seatbelt; make sure you wear helmets when cycling and roller blading.
At the Sentara Epilepsy Center
, patients can find an integrated system of quality clinical care with advanced monitoring technology, surgical capabilities and an on-site epilepsy specialist. Learn More
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