What's the impact of epilepsy? Can having seizures make me more likely to develop other problems? 

Some health problems or symptoms are seen more often in people with seizures than in people without seizures. They could be related to the seizures, or they could be due to whatever is causing the epilepsy. For example, mood problems or changes could be related to times of seizures or side effects of medicines. Yet, mood problems may also be a separate problem. The area of the brain causing the seizures may also be causing mood problems. Recognizing when any of these concerns occur can help you and your team figure out what to do about them.  Some related conditions may include:

  • 'Not doing well' at home, school, work, or with friends. 
  • Cognitive or learning problems that require special help or accommodations
  • Symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other changes in mood or behavior
  • Problems sleeping
  • Unexplained injuries, falls or other illnesses
  • Thinning of the bones or osteoporosis
  • Reproductive problems
  • Risk of death

How to use this section

This section on Impact of epilepsy addresses a number of conditions that may be related to epilepsy. Other terms that are used to describe the impact of epilepsy include - consequences, comorbidities, or risks. You may see these words used interchangeably at times. Remember, this is not an all inclusive list. More will be added as we expand the site. 

What should I do if any of these are present?

  • Talk to your doctor about what you have noticed. He or she may recommend some testing or want to watch things for a while.
  • If you don’t know much about your family history, sit down with your family and ask questions! A good family health history is important for everyone to have.
  • If you notice other health problems or changes in your mood, thinking or behavior – track the symptoms in your seizure diary. Note when the symptoms occur – are they near seizures or when medicines are taken?
  • Take a copy of your seizure diary and this information to all epilepsy visits.
  • Or schedule an appointment to address how epilepsy impacts you and what your risks may be. 
  • Attend an Epilepsy Foundation Affiliate conference and learn more about the impact of epilepsy. 
Reviewed by: Joseph I. Sirven, MD | Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN on 3/2014
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