Angels of Epilepsy

A 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization

Delayed Seizures

Why does it sometimes take years before someone with a brain injury experiences a seizure?

Often seizures do not begin immediately after a person has an injury to the brain. Instead, a seizure may happen months later. We do not have a good explanation for this common observation, but scientists are actively researching this subject.

The overall life expectancy of people who have epilepsy is the same as for anybody else if they are otherwise pretty healthy. Some people whose epilepsy is caused by things like a stroke or a brain tumor may die sooner from those conditions, of course.


A long-lasting convulsive seizure (called "tonic-clonic status epilepticus") is a medical emergency. If not stopped within about 30 minutes, it may cause permanent injury or death. In addition, people with epilepsy can also die from inhaling vomit during or just after a seizure. This can be prevented if someone will turn the person onto one side when the seizure begins and ensures that the vomit completely comes out of the mouth. In general, seizures are hardly ever fatal, even if the person loses consciousness.

People who are not seizure-free need to be careful about possible accidents during a seizure. Death from drowning is more common among people with epilepsy. It can even occur in a tub with only a few inches of water, so people who have seizures probably should stick to showers instead of baths. If you have epilepsy, your doctor—and the agency in your state or province responsible for licensing drivers—will help you decide whether it is safe and legal for you to drive. You should also be careful on train or subway platforms and when walking near busy streets. However,with some planning, you should be able to lead a life that is both active and safe