What causes epilepsy?

Epilepsy can have both genetic and acquired causes, or sometimes a combination of both factors.  

  • Genetics are believed to be involved in a majority of cases. Some (1-2%) are due to a single gene defect. Most are due to interactions between multiple genes and environmental factors.


  • Acquired causes of epilepsy include the following:
  • Tumors (4% of cases)
  • Stroke
  • Head trauma (6-20% of cases)
  • Infections of the central nervous system


The cause is unknown in about 60% of epilepsy cases


Some health problems can increase risk of developing epilepsy.

  • Meningitis
  • Herpes simplex encephalitis
  • Pork tapeworm
  • Cerebral malaria
  • Chronic alcohol use
  • Autoimmune encephalitis 
  • Cerebral palsy


epilepsy causes


  •  "Epilepsy - National Library of Medicine - PubMed Health." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.
  •  "Epilepsy." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 02 Feb. 2016. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.
  •  "Epilepsy." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Apr. 2017. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.


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