How epilepsy is inherited

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How epilepsy is inherited

Heredity plays an important role in most cases of epilepsy. But although the disease is considered genetic, a number of other external factors determining the intensity of the symptoms also affect the likelihood of its manifestation.

Genetic factor

It is generally accepted that epilepsy can occur as a result of a serious head injury. However, epilepsy does not appear in all people who hit their heads. It is patients who have relatives with a history of seizures and epilepsy who are at risk. People who have no relatives with a genetic disorder in their medical history are much less likely to receive this diagnosis.

With the development of the disease, its character and variety play an important role. So, the vast majority of cases of generalized epilepsy are due to a genetic factor. Partial or local forms are often found in people who simply had brain injuries without primary heredity.


Transfer risk

The disease is not transmitted in any other way than the genetic one. At risk are brothers and sisters of people who have a confirmed case of epilepsy or epileptic seizures. However, most immediate family members may not show symptoms of the disease. Most often, a disease occurs if it is of a generalized nature, expressed in bilateral damage to the brain; partial and local epilepsy affect only a certain part of it.

Most children with symptomatic parents do not show any signs of illness. However, there is a risk of transmission of epilepsy over several generations. The probability of manifestation of the disease in a child from a sick mother is approximately 5%. The risk of inheritance from the father’s side is slightly higher and, according to some studies, approaches 6%. The likelihood of transmission increases if both parents are carriers of epilepsy. At the present stage of development of medicine, all the genes that are responsible for the inheritance of the disease have not yet been found.



Attacks of the disease can be controlled with anticonvulsants. A healthy lifestyle and adherence to the therapy prescribed by a doctor will significantly reduce the frequency of outbreaks of epilepsy and even completely eliminate any manifestations of it in the future. It is worth noting that the success of treatment depends on its variety. As a result of taking medication, about 5 out of 10 people may not have seizures for more than 5 years. The rest may experience episodes of seizures, which, however, will have a reduced intensity. The prescribed treatment may not work in patients with generalized epilepsy.

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