Facts on Epilepsy
Epilepsy is the most common neurological condition and most common serious brain disorder. Epilepsy is characterized by repeated seizure. A seizure is a concise disturbance in the electrical activity of the brain that causes temporary physical changes in movement, awareness, feelings, behavior, or other bodily functions.
1. Epilepsy can be caused by various different conditions that affect a person’s brain (e.g., stroke, brain tumor, central nervous system infection, head injury). Epilepsy cannot be transmitted from person to person.
2. Epilepsy can affect anyone, at any age and from any walk of life.
3. Epilepsy is most frequently diagnosed in infancy, childhood, adolescence and old age.
4. An estimated 65 million people worldwide currently live with epilepsy.
5. About 1 in every 100 people has epilepsy. Epilepsy affects about 2.3 million adults and 467,711 children 0-17 years of age in the United States.
6. It is commonly thought that epilepsy always involves convulsions (body muscle contract and relax uncontrollably). In fact there are around 40 different types of epilepsy and epilepsy syndromes.
7. Risk of epilepsy in developing countries is almost double that of developed countries.
8. 70% of the people gain full seizure control with treatment. Unfortunately, in developing countries, more than 80% of people with epilepsy may not receive the treatment they need.
9. Epilepsy is associated with an increased risk of death, which may be related to suicide, cardio-respiratory arrest, prolonged seizures, and brain diseases such as tumour or head injury.
10. Up to 5% of people have photosensitive epilepsy (seizure when exposed to flashing lights). Photosensitive epilepsy is more common in children and young people. It is less commonly diagnosed after the age of 20.
11. A person who has been seizure-free for a year can re-apply for their driving license, depending on the local rules.
12. Epilepsy can be prevented by reducing risks from things that damage the brain. Vaccines against certain infections, wearing protective head gear, using seat belts and child safety seats in automobiles all help to protect the brain.
13. Children with epilepsy often experience learning issues as a result of their seizures. These may create difficulty in acquiring new skills, poor working memory and lack in knowledge.
14. Epilepsy can be treated by daily medication. If seizures continue, surgery, a special diet or nerve stimulation may be tried.
15. Epilepsy is not contagious; it can be controllable by appropriate treatments.