Epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition that causes recurrent seizures. Seizures can be a devastating, life challenging condition. Epilepsy can be inherited. It can also be caused by damage to the brain. Often the cause is not known. Epilepsy is fairly common. Many people have it. It affects about one of every 100 people. In the United States, about 2 million people have epilepsy.
Some people are able to identify things or situations that can trigger seizures.
A few of the most commonly reported triggers for epileptic seizure are:
Lack of sleep
Illness or fever
Bright lights, flashing lights, or patterns
Caffeine, medicines, or drugs
Identifying epileptic seizure triggers isn’t always easy. A single incident doesn’t always mean something is a trigger. It’s often a combination of factors that trigger a seizure.
A good way to find your triggers for epileptic seizure is to keep a seizure journal. After each seizure, note the following:
- day and time
- what activity you were involved in
- what was happening around you
- unusual sights, smells, or sounds
- unusual stressors
- what you were eating or how long it had been since you’d eaten
- your level of fatigue and how well you slept the night before
You can also use your seizure journal to determine if your medications are working. Note how you felt just before and just after your seizure, and any side effects.
Bring the journal with you when you visit the doctor. It may be useful in adjusting your medications or exploring other treatments.