Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder and affects people of all ages. It covers a wide range of seizure types and control varies from person to person.

Epilepsy facts:

  • Epilepsy is a disorder characterized by recurrent seizures
  • A seizure is a sudden and brief change in the brain’s activity
  • Epilepsy is not contagious
  • 0.6% of Canadians have epilepsy
  • About 60% of new epilepsy diagnosis are young children and senior citizens
  • In about half of the cases of childhood epilepsy, seizures disappear completely
  • Due to the stigma and prejudice surrounding epilepsy, the prevalence of epilepsy is likely much higher


Common causes include:
  • Brain tumor and stroke
  • Head trauma
  • Injury, infection, or illness of the mother during pregnancy
  • Brain injury to the infant during delivery
  • Infection of brain (meningitis, viral encephalitis)
  • Poisoning, from substance abuse of alcoholism
  • Heredity
Triggers of seizures include:
  • Stress
  • Poor nutrition
  • Missed medication
  • Flickering lights
  • Skipping meals
  • Illness, fever and allergies
  • Lack of sleep
  • Emotions such as anger, worry, fear and others
  • Heat and/or humidity

Symptoms of a Seizure

  • Periods of blackout or confusion
  • Fainting spells
  • Episodes of blank staring in children
  • Sudden falls for no reason
  • Episodes of blinking or chewing at inappropriate times
  • Clusters of swift jerking movements
  • A convulsion, with our without fever
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control


  • Long term drug therapy is mainstay of treatment
  • Drugs are not a cure and may have severe side effects
  • Brain surgery is recommended when medications fail and when it is safe to do so without damaging a person’s personality or function

Visit www.epilepsy.ca for more information on Epilepsy

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