Epilepsy / Seizures

Kuei-Cheng Lim, MD, PhDKuei-Cheng Lim, MD, PhD is the medical director of the St. Luke's Epilepsy Center.

Epilepsy is a brain disorder involving seizures, which are brief disturbances of brain function that change attention and/or behavior. Seizures can last a few seconds to a few minutes, and can have a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Convulsions
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Blank staring
  • Lip smacking
  • Jerking movements of the arms and legs

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, there is no known cause for about 70 percent of epilepsy cases. Causes of the remaining 30 percent include:

  • Brain tumor
  • Stroke
  • Head trauma
  • Lead poisoning
  • Brain infection
  • Brain injury to the fetus during pregnancy

Risk Factors

Although anyone can get epilepsy, it tends to affect the very young (sometimes as young as two) and the elderly. Other risk factors include:

  • Family history
  • Substance abuse
  • Blood sugar problems


Drug therapy is the most common treatment for epilepsy. Surgery also may be a treatment option for some who suffer from epilepsy. 


There are no known ways to prevent epilepsy. Based on the epilepsy risk factors, people should get treatment for drug abuse and control problems with blood sugar.

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