Primary Generalized Epilepsy (Idiopathic Generalized Epilepsy)
UW Health's comprehensive epilepsy program at UW Hospital and Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin, offers state-of-the-art care for patients with epilepsy or those suspected of having seizures.
About Primary Generalized Epilepsy
- Primary generalized epilepsy (PGE) cannot be attributed to an underlying condition. Whereas many epilepsy seizures can be traced back to a stroke, brain tumor or other disorder, primary generalized epilepsy cannot.
- Primary generalized epilepsy is often assumed to be caused by a genetic condition, but that genetic condition is not known.
- A family history of epilepsy may be evident but does not have to be.
- EEG results may indicate that seizures start "all over" the brain.
- Nearly all instances of PGE begin in childhood, with seizures beginning before age 10.
Types of Primary Generalized Epilepsy Syndromes
- Childhood absence epilepsy
- Jeavon’s syndrome
- Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy
- Juvenile absence epilepsy
- Epilepsy with generalized tonic-clonic seizures on awakening
- Generalized epilepsies with febrile seizures plus
Types of Primary Generalized Epilepsy Seizures
- Myoclonic: Limbs or the whole body experience "jerks" during the daytime, when the patient is awake.
- Absence: Brief staring spells that last three to five seconds.
- Eyelid myoclonia with absences: Absence seizures with eye rolling and fluttering.
- Myoclonic atonic seizures: Brief jerks while the patients is standing that may result from lack of muscle tone.
- Generalized tonic-clonic seizures
Treating Primary Generalized Epilepsy
- Many patients with childhood absence epilepsy outgrow their seizures, meaning they do not require medication after seizures stop.
- Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy is considered a lifetime condition and most patients need medication to prevent seizures.