Font Size
A
A
A
1
...

Epilepsy

Epilepsy Overview

Patient Comments

Epilepsy is a condition in which a person has recurrent seizures. A seizure is defined as an abnormal, disorderly discharging of the brain's nerve cells, resulting in a temporary disturbance of motor, sensory, or mental function.

There are many types of seizures, depending primarily on what part of the brain is involved. The term epilepsy says nothing about the type of seizure or cause of the seizure, only that the seizures happen again and again. A stricter definition of the term requires that the seizures have no known underlying cause. This may also be called primary or idiopathic epilepsy.

  • Episodes of abnormal electrical activity within the brain result in seizures.
  • The specific area of the brain affected by the abnormal electrical activity may result in a particular type of seizure.
  • If all areas of the brain are affected by the abnormal electrical activity, a generalized seizure may result. This means that consciousness is lost or impaired. Often all the person's arms and legs stiffen and then jerk rhythmically.
  • One seizure type may evolve into another during the course of the seizure. For example, a seizure may start as a partial, or focal, seizure, involving the face or arm. Then the muscular activity spreads to other areas of the body. In this way, the seizure becomes generalized.
  • Seizures caused by high fevers in children are not considered epilepsy. Also see children's seizures.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/23/2014
Medical Author:
Coauthor:
Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:
Next Page:
1
...

Must Read Articles Related to Epilepsy

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is repetitive cramping or jerking of the legs during sleep. It is the only movement disorder that occurs only during slee...learn more >>
Seizures and Fever
Seizures and Fever Febrile seizures, also known as convulsions, body spasms, or shaking, occur mainly in children and are caused by fever. (Febrile is derived from the Latin febri...learn more >>
Seizures Emergencies
Seizures Emergencies Seizures refer to uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain. Symptoms of seizures range from mild to severe and can lead to death. A number of factors can l...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Epilepsy:

Epilepsy - Symptoms

What are your epilepsy symptoms and signs?

Epilepsy (Seizure Disorder) - Effective Treatments

Please describe effective treatments with epilepsy (seizure disorder).

Epilepsy - Experience

Please describe your experience with epilepsy





Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Benign Childhood Epilepsy »

Epilepsy is defined as 2 or more unprovoked seizures.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary