Family History of Epilepsy

Topic Overview

Adults with epilepsy may wonder if their children will also develop epilepsy. Whether a family history of epilepsy (genetics) increases a person's risk for the disorder partly depends on what type of epilepsy the family member has had.

Several types of childhood epilepsy may be passed from parent to child. These include benign focal childhood epilepsy, childhood absence epilepsy, and juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, which have no other known cause.

If you developed epilepsy as a result of a head injury, stroke, or other clear causes, you probably will not pass the condition on to any children you have. But certain genetic factors may have made you more likely to develop epilepsy after the injury, stroke, or other cause. And you might pass on these genetic factors to your child.

A child of a parent with epilepsy may or may not develop the disorder. Family history is a risk factor, but many people with epilepsy have children who never develop it.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Steven C. Schachter, MD - Neurology
Last Revised August 28, 2013

Last Revised: August 28, 2013

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