Causes of Seizures
In many cases, seizures develop as a result of brain damage from other disorders. Some conditions that may cause seizures include the following:
- Brain tumors
- Alzheimer's disease
- Heart attacks
- Cerebrovascular disease
About 32 percent of all cases of newly developed epilepsy in elderly people appear to be due to cerebrovascular disease, which reduces the supply of oxygen to brain cells.
Meningitis, AIDS, viral encephalitis, and other infectious diseases can cause seizures, as can hydrocephalus -- a condition in which excess fluid builds up in the brain.
Seizures also can result from intolerance to wheat gluten (also known as celiac disease) or from a parasitic infection of the brain called neurocysticercosis.
Seizures may stop once these disorders are treated successfully. However, the odds of becoming seizure-free after the primary disorder is treated are uncertain and vary, depending on:
- The type of disorder
- The brain region that is affected
- How much brain damage occurred prior to treatment.
In some cases, head injury can cause seizures. Safety measures, such as wearing seat belts in cars and using helmets when riding a motorcycle or playing competitive sports, can protect people from seizures and other problems that result from head injury.
Developmental Problems as a Seizure Cause
Seizures are associated with a variety of developmental and metabolic disorders, including:
- Cerebral palsy
- Neurofibromatosis (a genetic disorder of the nervous system)
- Pyruvate dependency
- Tuberous sclerosis (a rare genetic disease that causes benign tumors and affects the central nervous system)
- Landau-Kleffner syndrome (a rare childhood neurological disorder that affects the ability to understand or express language)
Seizures are just one of a set of symptoms commonly found in people with these disorders.