Is Epilepsy Inherited?

Drawing of brainwaves during Epilepsy Unfortunately Epilepsy, like many other medical conditions, is not widely understood; affecting more than 65 million people worldwide. It is therefore crucial to not only raise awareness of the condition itself, but to dispel any associated myths.

Here at Alert-iT we often hear or are presented with a number of questions that, to us at least, should be more widely understood. From questioning whether Epilepsy is contagious to speculating whether individuals with the condition can lead normal, day to day lives.

However, there are some myths and preconceptions which often need a little more explanation. The question surrounding whether Epilepsy is hereditary is more complex than a simple yes or no answer where research is ongoing. Therefore we thought we?d provide you with a brief overview in our latest blog. Find out more below:

Current Research & Understanding

Amongst a host of other common myths, it is often stated that Epilepsy is hereditary. And to some extent you could be right to assume so. In fact, it is thought that between two and five in every 100 children are born to parents with Epilepsy will inherit the condition.

There are a number of reasons as to why you might inherit epilepsy as we explain below:

Type of Epilepsy

Genetics is believed to play a role in most forms of Epilepsy; but the role of genetics is complex and therefore often difficult to pin point exactly. According to current research, which is still ongoing, heredity plays an important role in many cases of Epilepsy. There are some types of Epilepsy and seizures which are more likely to run in families including:

  • Childhood Absence Epilepsy (CAE)
  • Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy (JME)
  • Photosensitive Seizures
  • Focal Seizures
  • Generalised Epilepsy with Febrile Seizure Plus (GEFS+)

Each type of Epilepsy has a different level of risk in terms of ?being inherited. However, a child?s risk of inheriting the condition is thought to be less than 15 in every 100.

Seizure Threshold and Head Trauma

Not everyone who has a serious head injury will then develop Epilepsy. But why?

According to research we all possess something call a ?Seizure Threshold? in our brains. This is the balance between excitatory and inhibitory forces in the brain which ultimately control how susceptible a person is to seizures. If you have a low threshold you are therefore more likely to have a seizure. Current studies suggest that a low threshold appears to run in many families.

Alternative Factors

Whilst genetics can play a factor, there are other more common causes of epilepsy such as head trauma, brain tumour or lesion and stroke. Unfortunately however, in up to 65-70% of cases the cause is not known.

More Information and Advice

Dispelling myths associated with Epilepsy are vital to raising positive awareness surrounding this condition. Whilst the research regarding Epilepsy and inheritance is not entirely conclusive, it hopefully dispels the illusion surrounding the reasons as to why individuals have this neurological condition. And that it?s certainly not as straightforward as you may think.

If you are concerned about Epilepsy, coping with the condition, or caring for an individual you might want to understand more about our fantastic range of assistive technologies.? Offering peace of mind and less stress caring concerning seizures, please do not hesitate to give our knowledgeable team a call on 0845 217 9952 or 01530 231215 for more information and advice.

Alternatively you can take a look at our full range of Ep-iT alarms and monitors.

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