Conditions InDepth: Epilepsy
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- Head injury
- Brain abnormalities inherited at birth
- Gene abnormalities inherited at birth
- Brain injury at birth
- Hypoxia at birth
- Loss of neurons in the hippocampus, also called mesial temporal sclerosis
- Brain tumors
- Metabolic conditions, such as low blood sugar, very high blood sugar, low calcium, high or low sodium, or low magnesium
- Alzheimer's disease
- Heart failure
- Liver failure
- Kidney failure
- Sickle cell anemia
- Vasculitis, such as systemic lupus erythematous
- Any condition that deprives the brain of oxygen, such as near drowning
- Infectious diseases, such as:
- Hydrocephalus—excess fluid in the brain
- Celiac disease—intolerance to wheat gluten
- Exposure to:
- Certain illegal drugs, such as cocaine, amphetamines, phencyclidine
- Overdose of antidepressants and other medicines
- Withdrawal from alcohol, sedatives, and hypnotics
Certain medicines can lower the seizure threshold and thus increase the risk of seizures, such as:
- In children:
Berkow R. The Merck Manual of Medical Information. 17th ed. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster; 2000.
Epilepsy in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 18, 2013. Accessed February 22, 2013.
Epilepsy in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 19, 2012. Accessed February 22, 2013.
Lowenstein DH. Seizures and epilepsy. In: Longo DL, Fauci AS, et al, eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 18th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2012.
NINDS Epilepsy information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/epilepsy/epilepsy.htm. Updated February 21, 2013. Accessed February 22, 2013.
What is epilepsy? Epilepsy Foundation website. Available at: http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/aboutepilepsy/whatisepilepsy/index.cfm. Accessed February 22, 2013.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 03/2013 -
- Update Date: 03/15/2013 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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