Epilepsy - a definition
A medical definition of epilepsy is “repeated seizures of primary cerebral origin”. This means that you have a tendency to have seizures, which originate in the brain. It follows that, since the word ‘repeated’ is an integral part of the definition an isolated seizure does not constitute epilepsy. Also, some people, for instance, have seizures as a result of an imbalance of sugar levels in the body (diabetes) but this is clearly not epilepsy since the seizures are not linked to brain disorder.
What causes epilepsy?
For many people, there is no known cause for their epilepsy – this is referred to as cryptogenic epilepsy. For some people the cause is thought to be genetic (also referred to as idiopathic), while in others the condition develops as a result of damage to the brain, for example, from injury, birth trauma, or stroke – this is known as symptomatic epilepsy.
All our brains have the capacity to produce a seizure in certain circumstances. Most brains won’t do this unless encouraged, and so are said to have a ‘high seizure threshold’.