Seizures and Genetics

Question

I used to have grand mal seizures as a child. As I got older I would just have bad dizzy spells and kind of zone off. I didn’t know until years later that what I was experiencing was still a form of seizure. I was wondering what are the chances of my children having seizures? I know that it can be genetic. And what kind of things should I look for?

Dr. Greene`s Answer:

Seizure disorders do sometimes run in families. In general, epilepsy occurs in 0.5 to 1 percent of the population. In families with epilepsy, it can be much higher, but still each child will probably not have seizures.

Seizures can pass in different ways. Some are recessive and some are dominant while some are multifactorial. A neurologist or a geneticist could calculate the risk in a specific situation, but just because you have seizures doesn’t mean your child will.

Medical Review on: July 02, 2008
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Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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