Epilepsy is a neurological condition characterised by seizures which are caused by excessive electrical activity within networks of neurons in the brain.
It is one of the most common neurological conditions in the world. Its impact can vary considerably from person to person depending on which part of the brain is affected. Epilepsy can affect anyone of any age, gender, race or ethnicity, but is most commonly diagnosed in childhood and in people over the age of 60.
There are over 40 different types of seizure, but the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) has identified 3 main types:
- generalised onset
- focal onset
- seizures of unknown onset
Seizures of generalised onset involve large areas on both sides of the brain and often result in loss of consciousness. Focal onset seizures affect a specific region in one side of the brain where consciousness may be altered but is not lost. Seizures of unknown onset are where the origin of the seizure is unclear.