Cause of Epilepsy
In many cases, epilepsy develops as a result of brain damage from other disorders. Some of these other disorders include:
- Brain tumors
- Alzheimer's disease
- Heart attacks
- Cerebrovascular disease
- Celiac disease
- Developmental and metabolic disorders.
About 32 percent of all cases of newly developed epilepsy in elderly people appear to be due to cerebrovascular disease, which reduces the supply of oxygen to brain cells.
Meningitis, AIDS, viral encephalitis, and other infectious diseases are possible causes of epilepsy, as is hydrocephalus -- a condition in which excess fluid builds up in the brain.
Epilepsy also can result from intolerance to wheat gluten (also known as celiac disease) or from a parasitic infection of the brain called neurocysticercosis.
Seizures may stop once these disorders are treated successfully; however, the odds of becoming seizure-free after the primary disorder is treated are uncertain and vary, depending on:
- The brain region that is affected
- The type of disorder
- How much brain damage occurred prior to treatment.
Epilepsy is associated with a variety of developmental and metabolic disorders, including:
- Neurofibromatosis (a genetic disorder of the nervous system)
- Pyruvate dependency
- Cerebral palsy
- Tuberous sclerosis (a rare genetic disease that causes benign tumors and affects the central nervous system)
- Landau-Kleffner syndrome (a rare childhood neurological disorder that affects the ability to understand or express language)
Epilepsy is just one of a set of symptoms commonly found in people with these disorders.