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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