Epilepsy — also known as a seizure disorder — is a brain disorder that causes recurring seizures. There are many types of epilepsy. In some people, the cause can be identified. In others, the cause isn’t known.
Epilepsy is common. It’s estimated that 1 in 26 people develops the disorder, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. Epilepsy affects people of all genders, races, ethnic backgrounds and ages.
Seizure symptoms can vary widely. Some people may lose awareness during a seizure but others don’t. Some people stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure. Others may repeatedly twitch their arms or legs, movements known as convulsions or spasms.
Having a single seizure doesn’t mean you have epilepsy. Epilepsy is diagnosed if you’ve had at least two unprovoked seizures at least 24 hours apart. Unprovoked seizures don’t have a clear cause.
Treatment with medicines or sometimes surgery can control seizures for most people with epilepsy. Some people require lifelong treatment. For others, seizures eventually go away. Some children with epilepsy may outgrow the condition with ag.