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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Expected Duration

About 5% to 10% of people will have at least one seizure during their lifetimes. For many of these people, the problem is a one-time occurrence that will not return. In about 1 of 10 cases, however, seizures continue to occur, and the person is diagnosed as having epilepsy.

Epilepsy can be a lifelong illness, but many people with a history of multiple seizures eventually will stop having seizures. People who are younger when seizures start and who have a normal neurological examination are more likely to become seizure-free at some point. For people with active epilepsy, the frequency and severity of seizures can be reduced with medication.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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