problems with the way the brain developed before birth
abnormal blood vessels
bleeding in the brain
infections (such as HIV, meningitis, or tuberculosis)
Kids with Down syndrome, autism, and some metabolic disorders also may have epilepsy. Some types of epilepsy run in families.
More than half of epilepsy cases are idiopathic, meaning there's no clear cause. But this is changing as more genetic mutations are found.
How Is Epilepsy Diagnosed?
If a child has had a seizure, the doctor usually sends them to see a pediatric neurologist (a doctor who treats brain, spine, and nervous system problems). The neurologist will ask questions, do an exam, and order tests to check for epilepsy. The tests, which also can find out the type of epilepsy, may include:
blood tests and urine tests (to look for infections or illnesses)
EEG to see brain waves/electrical activity in the brain
VEEG, or video electroencephalography (EEG with video recording)
Doctors usually treat epilepsy with medicines. If medicines don't control the seizures, sometimes they recommend a special diet, such as a ketogenic diet,. A ketogenic (or keto) diet is a strict high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet and can sometimes reduce seizures.
Most kids with epilepsy can lead a normal life. To help your child live better with epilepsy, be sure they follow the neurologist’s recommendations about:
taking any medicines
avoiding triggers (such as excessive stress, lack of sleep, some types of medicines)
following any special diets
taking precautions while swimming or bathing
whether it is OK to drive
whether your child should wear a medical ID bracelet
getting help with learning or behavior problems, if needed
Be sure that other adults and caregivers (family members, babysitters, teachers, coaches, etc.) know what to do to keep your child safe during a seizure.
If your child has epilepsy, reassure them that they’re not alone. Your doctor and the care team can answer questions and offer support. They also might be able to recommend a local support group. Online organizations can help too, such as: