Epilepsy is a condition when unwanted electric impulses are sent to the brain causing seizures. These seizures may be of different character; mild, when all that happens is a small amount of time when a person is still and unaware of him or herself or hard, when seizures involve body contractions and convulsions. People suffering from epilepsy can live without a seizure for most of their lives but it can always come back when they least expect it. That is why it is dangerous and life threatening for them to drive or do any operations involving high risk if losing control.
In order to be diagnosed with epilepsy, a person needs to have a seizure at least twice since if it only happens once it may not be caused by this illness at all, and it may not repeat ever again. If it does, however, the main reason in most cases is epilepsy.
At old age, epilepsy is most often caused by another underlying or previous illness such as a stroke or dementia. With younger people it can be caused by a head injury where nervous system had been damaged. Children suffering from Down syndrome or autism are also known to be prone to this disease. It can also be caused while the child is still in the womb by the mother's infection or malnutrition. Epileptic seizures with children can often be attached to other mental, nervous or development disorders.
People suffering from epilepsy should be extremely cautious while driving, swimming, doing any kind of sports, especially those extreme ones since there is a great risk of dying or serious injuries if a seizure happens at the exact time of practicing such activities.
Women who suffer from this disease and want children should ask for a medical advice since some medications that are known to help suppressing seizures can also cause birth defects. In most cases this is not so but it is better ruled out before being too late.
Rarely, long lasting seizures may appear continually. These are extremely dangerous and may even cause death.
Epilepsy can be triggered by many things. Most often it appears with children and the elderly but there is not a specific rule for that. If a person has suffered head injuries or any vascular or brain infections, he or she should medically check for any danger of epilepsy. Also, statistically, men are more prone to it than women are and it can often be genetically inherited and transferred as such.