There are many causes of epilepsy:

  • Injury to the brain before, during or after birth, such as:
    • Developmental defects of the brain
    • Perinatal brain injury due to bleeding or lack of oxygen
    • Traumatic injury of the brain later in life
  • Genetic defects
  • Degenerative disorders that affect the brain
  • Metabolic and chemical disorders
  • Infections of the nervous system
  • Brain tumors and clots
  • Toxic reactions to drugs and other substances

Some of the potential causes of damaged brain cells – and therefore epilepsy – can be prevented through good health care practices, highway safety, and recreational safety. For example, as a result of automobile accidents alone, 540,000 Americans suffered from head injuries each year. Almost 20,000 of them will develop persistent epileptic seizures as a result. Thus, prevention of epilepsy focuses on avoiding head injuries and brain damage by observing these simple points:

  • Minimize risks in recreational activities (wear protective headgear for bicycling, skateboarding, football, baseball; play it safe when diving or climbing).
  • Drive all vehicles safely (use seatbelts, observe speed limits, wear helmets where appropriate).