Epilepsy is a neurological condition caused by sudden brief changes in the brain’s electrical balance that causes seizures. Seizures can alter awareness, physical movements, consciousness or actions. They generally last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Epilepsy is often called a “seizure disorder.” To date, there is no known cure.
Causes of epilepsy may include head injuries, brain tumors, lead poisoning, certain genetic diseases and some infectious diseases. However, in more than half the patients with epilepsy, the cause is still unknown.
When a person has had two or more seizures which have not been provoked by specific events such as trauma, infection, fever, or chemical change, he or she is considered to have epilepsy. Epilepsy is generally a chronic and/or lifelong condition.
One in three adults knows someone with epilepsy.
- One in 10 adults will have a seizure in their lifetime
- Epilepsy affects people of all races, ethnic backgrounds, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds
- Epilepsy affects approximately 1 in 100 people
- Approximately 3 million Americans are affected by epilepsy
- This year, another 200,000 people in our country will be diagnosed with epilepsy
- Epilepsy is the third most common neurological disorder in the U.S. after Alzheimer’s disease and stroke
- Epilepsy is NOT contagious. Epilepsy is NOT a disease. Epilepsy is NOT a psychological disorder
- For more than half of people with epilepsy, medication will control their seizures.
- Close to 2 of the 3 million Americans with epilepsy do not have complete seizure control, or only experience seizure control at the cost of debilitating side effects from medications
- More than a million people continue to have seizures that can severely limit their school achievements, employment prospects and participation in all of life’s experiences
- More than 90,000 of the 300,000 children with epilepsy in America have seizures that cannot be adequately treated
- For 10-15% of people with epilepsy, the surgical removal of the seizure focus – the part of brain where the person’s seizures start – can eliminate seizure activity
- Some children will outgrow their epilepsy and some adults may have a spontaneous remission