Is epilepsy genetic?

Medically Reviewed by Checkmark Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Sravanthi Sunkaraneni


Sometimes. Though, genetics cannot be the sole cause of epilepsy, in about 30 to 40 per cent of cases, epilepsy is due to a genetic predisposition. In fact, there is a two to four-fold increased risk of epilepsy in people who have first-degree relatives afflicted with epilepsy.

Certain types of epilepsy run in families, and they can be passed down from one generation to the next. These types can be both genetic and inherited.

The Epilepsy Foundation states that if a person has a first-degree relative (mother, father, sibling) with epilepsy, the risk of developing epilepsy by the age of 40 is about 1 in 20. It is important to note that the risk is greater if the person has generalized epilepsy rather than focal epilepsy.

A gene mutation can also be a cause of epilepsy. In most cases, the genes that control the excitability of nerve cells (neurons) in the brain are responsible for this type. However, not every person with mutations in these genes develops epilepsy. Experts believe that in many cases, genetic predisposition combined with environmental conditions leads to epilepsy.

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Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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