About Epilepsy

1 in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy in their lifetime.

  • Epilepsy is as common as breast cancer and claims more lives each year.
  • Every 4 minutes a person is diagnosed with epilepsy.
  • 200,000 new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed every year.
  • Every year 60,000 people lose their lives to epilepsy.
  • Approximately 3 million Americans and 50 million people worldwide currently live with epilepsy.
  • More than 40% of patients continue to have seizures despite available treatments and many of those who obtain seizure control have side effects that are debilitating.
  • Sixty percent of children with epilepsy face a life of severe cognitive deficits and brain damage leading to a lifetime of illness, disability, and dependency. Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) accounts for 34% of all sudden deaths in children.
  • Epilepsy can develop at any age, but the highest incidence rates are reported in children and in the aging population as a result of stroke, brain tumor, and Alzheimer’s disease. Recurring seizures are a significant burden for people living with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and traumatic brain injury.
  • Epilepsy cost the United States approximately $15.5 billion each year. The indirect costs associated with uncontrolled seizures are seven times higher than that of the average for all chronic diseases.
  • Epilepsy research is significantly underfunded from three major sources: the pharmaceutical industry, government, and private foundations. Per researcher, funding for epilepsy lags average funding for all diseases by nearly 50%.
  • For many soldiers suffering traumatic brain injury on the battlefield, epilepsy will be a long-term consequence. Fifty-three percent of Vietnam War veterans with penetrating head injury developed epilepsy.

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