Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Epilepsy

Possibly inherited epilepsy

03/10/2009

Question:

My grandfather had seisures and was diagnosed Epilepsy. When I was 5, I developed an active tic which jerked a my entire body from the foot level. No diagnosis was determined at that point. A year later my parents moved to Italy where the doctor after scanning my brain diagnosed the left part of it with epilepsy without knowing family history. Later in USA doctor pediatrician said didn`t confirm the diagnosis, but he didn`t do any brain scans tests either. Now I`m 34 and did have some of the tic remnants through my entire life. I learned to control it especialy in public. It jerks my head, shoulders, and I blink the eyes too, especialy when I`m tensed, nervious or worried. Recently I had an episode of feeling like everything around was flowing, heart rate went up for short time, felt lightheadedness, and there was a feeling of being scared that I may die. Maybe that feeling took my ability to swallow away for a short time. Facial muscules were weak or else(hard to characterise)on both sides, and my left arm too. Could it be any connection between the tic I had through my entire life, my granfarther`s desease, and the described episode. Which doctor should I see?

Answer:

We do not completely understand the precise way that most epilepsy is inherited. There are many different types of epilepsy (known as epilepsy syndromes) and each may have a different type of inheritance. It appears most types of epilepsy are inherited in a 'complex' way, meaning it is not the usual autosomal dominant or recessive. There are probably several different genes for each syndrome, and you have to have some special combination of these genes to have epilepsy.

For more information:

Go to the Epilepsy health topic, where you can:

Response by:

David M Ficker, MD David M Ficker, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati