Epilepsy Facts

Epilepsy is a nerve disorder that causes frequent seizures. Seizures are sudden, uncontrollable events that occur when the brain sends out abnormal electrical signals to the body. Learn More ›

Symptoms: Evaluation of First-Time Seizure

Seizures can be a sign of epilepsy, but they can happen for other reasons as well. Although the exact cause of a seizure can't always be pinpointed, you should always be evaluated by a doctor the first time you have a seizure. It’s important to know if you have a health condition, such as epilepsy, that needs to be treated to prevent future seizures.

When your brain's electrical system doesn't work properly, a seizure occurs. Usually, your brain cells shoot off electrical impulses in a particular way. But some factors can make those electrical impulses fire erratically and without reason, essentially resulting in a "short" in your brain that causes a seizure.

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Treatment: Medical Management of Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a condition that causes seizures, temporary reactions that often include twitching and convulsions. These seizures happen when the brain's electrical impulses act abnormally and send erratic signals. Think of it as your brain getting confused by these haywire messages, and the result is a seizure.

Epilepsy can make driving, walking across the street, or cooking dinner a dangerous activity because you never know when a seizure may strike. But epilepsy can usually be managed well through medication and other treatments. Learning how to reduce your risk for a seizure through lifestyle changes and learning your triggers can also help you to better manage your epilepsy.

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Living with: Living Well with Epilepsy

Life with epilepsy can be hard. But there are things you can do to make it easier. Pay attention to your emotions. If you feel down, upset, or scared, talk to your doctor. And be open with the people in your life. Talking about epilepsy can help them understand. It can also help you feel better.

You may be scared to go out in public for fear of having a seizure. Or you may just get frustrated with having epilepsy. Such feelings are normal. But they can lead to anxiety and depression. Treatment is available for these conditions, so talk to your doctor. Discuss what can help you, such as the following:

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Epilepsy affects as many people as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and cerebral palsy combined. It creates an estimated $15.5 billion in medical costs and lost earnings and production each year.