It’s estimated that 50 million people in the world suffer from epilepsy, and around 3 million of them are here in the United States.This condition is characterized by seizures, which can be scary to deal with. For that reason, you might want to know about the possible epilepsy causes and risk factors so you know what to look out for in yourself and your loved ones. In this article, we’ll discuss the epilepsy risk factors you need to know about.
If you’ve ever had a brain injury, this can increase your risk of seizures. In addition to a direct head injury, brain injury can also be caused by a stroke, brain tumors, lack of oxygen (such as by suffocation or drowning), and other conditions that cause bleeding or swelling in your brain.
Infections (like AIDS, meningitis, and viral encephalitis) and parasitic infections can also be risk factors for epilepsy. If you or a family member has had a disease like malaria, this can increase the risk of developing this condition.
There are some health problems that are associated with epilepsy. Mainly, they are heart disease (or even heart failure), autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, and Alzheimer’s disease.
If you have a history of substance abuse (especially cocaine), this may also contribute as a risk factor for epilepsy.
Other Things to Note
Here are some other risk factors you should be aware of:
- Small birth size
- Abnormal brain areas at birth
- Seizures in early life (first month)
- Seizures from high fever in children
- Family history of epilepsy
Also, it may be possible to have none of the above seizure risk factors and still end up with epilepsy. In fact, many people who don’t have them are diagnosed with this condition.
Unfortunately, epilepsy is still not a very well understood disease, meaning it’s difficult to pinpoint a cause in many cases.
Possible triggers may be different for everyone, but here are some of the common ones:
- Lack of sleep
- Missed dose of medication
- Heavy substance abuse
- Deficiency in nutrients (poor eating habits)
- Flashing lights
If you believe you have epilepsy and want to avoid triggering seizures, you may benefit from epilepsy therapy. Not only can a doctor officially diagnose you, but they can also custom-tailor a treatment plan so you can lead a life that’s as normal as possible.
Recognize the Main Epilepsy Risk Factors
Hopefully, you should now have more peace of mind since you know the epilepsy risk factors. If you ever suspect that you or one of your family members has this condition, then you now know what to look out for. Being proactive about epilepsy can go a long way in figuring it out and improving your quality of life.
If you found this article on risk factors of epilepsy useful, then please take a look at our various other blog posts now.