Epilepsy

What Is It?

Epilepsy is a nervous system condition. It causes repeated, sudden, brief changes in the brain's electrical activity. These changes cause various types of symptoms.

Epileptic episodes are called seizures or convulsions. During a seizure, brain cells fire uncontrollably at up to four times their normal rate. Seizures temporarily affect the way a person behaves, moves, thinks or feels.

There are two main types of seizures:

  • A primary generalized seizure involves the entire brain.

  • A partial seizure begins in one brain area. It affects only part of the brain. However, a partial seizure can turn into a generalized seizure.

Many conditions can affect the brain and trigger epilepsy. These include:

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