Causes of Seizures

The exact causes of seizures remain a mystery, but there are many potential suspects for the different types of seizures. Physicians are still searching for definite cause and effect links as they seek out better and more effective ways to treat epilepsy. The following causes of seizures are generally accepted, although more information is being discovered every day in this advancing field of medicine:

Family History
Genetics appear to play a big part in susceptibility to epilepsy. If epilepsy runs in your family, you have an increased vulnerability to having seizures.

Head trauma is also related to seizures. Most people who develop seizures that are related to a head injury do so within a year of the injury. It does not seem to matter if the trauma to the head broke the skin or not. It is internal injury that appears to cause seizures.

Cerebrovascular Disorders
Any trauma or illness in the head that causes internal bleeding can be a factor that contributes to seizures. Strokes, in particular, are known to cause seizures.

Metabolic Changes
If you suddenly experience an altered level of electrolytes, blood sugar or oxygen in your blood, you may have a seizure. If you develop urea in the blood from renal damage or built-up toxins in the blood due to liver failure, you are also at risk of a seizure.

Toxic Substances
Many drugs, both prescription and illegal, can cause seizures, especially if you overdose. Sometimes withdrawal symptoms when you stop using these drugs can also cause seizures.

If you develop an infection of the nervous system, you may have a seizure. Common causes of seizures are meningitis, encephalitis and the various infections related to AIDS/HIV.

Environmental Triggers
Some environmental changes can cause you to have a seizure. Examples of such triggers are flashing lights, rapidly moving images on a computer or TV screen, stress and exhaustion.

Brain Tumor
Both malignant and benign tumors in the brain can be a source of seizures. The frequency and severity of these seizures depends on the size and location of the tumor.

Many of these causal factors can be avoided, but some of them cannot. Ask your doctor for suggestions for preventative measures and warning signs to watch for if epilepsy runs in your family.

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