What is Epilepsy?

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological condition, which affects the nervous system. Epilepsy is also known as a seizure disorder. It is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures that were not caused by some known medical condition like alcohol withdrawal or extremely low blood sugar.

Epilepsy is the most common chronic brain disease and affects people of all ages. More than 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy;  nearly 80% of them live in low- and middle-income countries.



  • Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes repeated seizures.
  • Epilepsy affects about 3.4 million Americans.
  • About 1 out of 10 people may have a seizure during his or her lifetime, though not all will develop epilepsy.
  • There are many different kinds of epilepsy and types of seizures.
  • People with epilepsy can have an active life.


Types of Epilepsy

Epilepsy occurs as a result of abnormal electrical activity originating in the brainBrain cells communicate by sending electrical signals in an orderly pattern. In epilepsy, these electrical signals become abnormal, giving rise to an `electrical storm`that produces seizures. These storms may be within a specific part of the brain or be generalized, depending on the type of epilepsy


Epilepsy is not one disease or condition. There are many kinds of epilepsy with different symptoms and patterns. It is important to know what kind you have. It can help you and your doctor understand the treatment you need, the triggers to avoid, and what to expect in the future.



Generalized seizures

  • All areas of the brain (the cortex) are involved in a generalized seizure. Sometimes these are referred to as grand mal seizures.

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