Epilepsy is a common disorder of the brain that causes recurring seizures. It is sometimes called a seizure disorder.
A seizure is a short change in normal brain activity. Seizures are the main sign of epilepsy. A person is diagnosed with epilepsy when they have had two or more seizures.
There are many types of seizures. Some seizures can look like staring spells. Other seizures cause a person to fall, shake, and lose awareness of what’s going on around them.
A seizure can last from a few seconds to a few minutes.
Epilepsy is more common in children and older adults but can affect people of all ages.
- Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes recurring seizures.
- Epilepsy affects about 3.4 million Americans.
- About 1 in 10 people will have a seizure at some point in their life, though not all will develop epilepsy.
- There are many different kinds of epilepsy and types of seizures.
- People with epilepsy can have an active and full life.
- There are over 230 epilepsy centers in the United States. Health care providers at these centers specialize in managing epilepsy and provide expert care to both children and adults. For example, an “epileptologist” is a doctor who has advanced training and experience in epilepsy.
- Take steps to prevent head injuries, such as using a seatbelt in the car or wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle
- Lower your risk of stroke and heart disease by eating well, exercising, and not smoking.
- Be up-to-date on your vaccinations. Read the CDC Recommendations for Vaccines and Immunizations.
- Wash your hands and prepare food safely to prevent infections such as cysticercosis.
- Have a healthy pregnancy. Some problems during pregnancy and childbirth may lead to epilepsy in the child. Follow a prenatal care plan with your doctor to keep you and your baby healthy.
- Page last reviewed: August 23, 2017
- Page last updated: August 23, 2017
- Content source: