Practice Question # 853.
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Epilepsy is a group of syndromes characterized by recurring seizures. Epileptic syndromes are classified by specific patterns of clinical features, including age of onset, family history, and seizure type (Schachter, 2001). Types of epilepsies are differentiated by how the seizure activity manifests, the most common syndromes being those with generalized seizures and those with partial-onset seizures. Epilepsy can be primary (idiopathic) or secondary, when the cause is known and the epilepsy is a symptom of another underlying condition such as a brain tumor (Schachter, 2001).
An estimated 2 to 4 million people in the United States have epilepsy (1 in 100 adults is affected), and onset occurs before the age of 20 years in greater than 75% of patients.