What Causes Seizures?


Quick Answer

MedlinePlus explains that all types of seizures result from sudden disorganized electrical activity in the brain, which sends abnormal signals that cause changes in the body's behavior and mental condition. There are many possible causes of seizures, which Johns Hopkins Medicine classifies according to whether the cause stems from a condition within the body, resulting in unprovoked seizures, or from an event that happened to the patient that provokes seizures.

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What Causes Seizures?
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Full Answer

A seizure can be a symptom of an underlying health condition. WebMD identifies possible causes that include congenital defects, infections such as meningitis, encephalitis or toxoplasmosis, brain damage or trauma due to an aneurysm, stroke or head injury, fever, and withdrawal from medications, alcohol or drugs. People with diabetes can have seizures if their blood sugar level becomes extremely low. Johns Hopkins Medicine identifies additional possible seizure causes, including GLUT-1 deficiency, Alzheimer's disease, birth-related trauma, a progressive brain disease and brain tumors. MedlinePlus adds excess sodium in the blood, electric shock, extreme hypertension and poisoning as additional possible causes for seizures.

Ideopathic seizures, which occur when the cause is unknown, are not uncommon, according to MedlinePlus. A person is said to have epilepsy when seizures continue even after any underlying conditions and causes are ruled out or resolved.

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