Risk Factors for Epilepsy

A risk factor is something that raises the chances of getting a health problem. A person can get epilepsy with or without the ones listed below. The chances of getting epilepsy are greater in people who have many.

Epilepsy is more common in people who have other family members with it. Other things that may raise the risk are:

Medical Conditions

Any injury to the brain can raise the risk. Brain injury can be caused by:

Parasitic infections, such as malaria, can also raise the risk.

Side View of the Brain

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Other Health Problems

Other health problems associated with epilepsy are:

Risks in Children

Things that may raise the risk of epilepsy in children are:

  • Small size at birth
  • Seizures in the first month of life
  • Problems with the structure of the brain
  • Having seizures due to high fever


Epilepsy in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/epilepsy-in-adults. Updated February 4, 2020. Accessed April 10, 2020.
Epilepsy in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/epilepsy-in-children. Updated March 22, 2018. Accessed April 10, 2020.
Epilepsy information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Epilepsy-Information-Page. Updated November 22, 2019. Accessed April 10, 2020.
Seizure disorders. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at:
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Updated November 2018. Accessed April 10, 2020.
Thijs RD, Surges R, et al. Epilepsy in adults. Lancet. 2019 Feb 16;393(10172):689-701.
What are the risk factors? Epilepsy Foundation website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated March 19, 2014. Accessed April 10, 2020.
Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 4/10/2020

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