Can a person die from epilepsy?

Most people with epilepsy live a full life. However, the risk of early death is higher for some. We know that the best possible seizure control and living safely can reduce the risk of epilepsy-related death. Factors that increase the risk of early death include: More serious health problems, such as a stroke or a tumor. These conditions carry an increased risk of death and may cause seizures. Falls or other injuries that happen because of seizures. These injuries can be life-threatening. Seizures that last over 5 minutes. This is a condition called status epilepticus. Status epilepticus can sometimes happen when a person suddenly stops taking seizure medication. Rarely, people with epilepsy can experience sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). SUDEP is not well understood, and experts don’t know what causes it, but they suspect that it is sometimes due to a change in heart beats (rhythm) during a seizure. Sudden death due to heart rhythm changes also happens in people who do not have seizures. The risk of sudden death is larger for people with major uncontrolled seizures.

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