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OUR MISSION

"The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives."

 

EPILEPSY FAST FACTS

FIRES

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain that causes seizures. These seizures are not caused by a temporary underlying medical condition such as a high fever.

Epilepsy can affect people in very different ways. This is because there are many causes and many different kinds of seizures. Some people may have multiple types of seizures or other medical conditions in addition to epilepsy. These factors play a major role in determining both the severity of the person’s condition and the impact it has on his or her life.

The way a seizure looks depends on the type of seizure a person is experiencing. Some seizures can look like staring spells. Other seizures can cause a person to collapse, shake, and become unaware of what’s going on around them.

Epilepsy can be caused by different conditions that affect a person’s brain. Many times the cause is unknown. Some causes include:

  • Stroke.
  • Brain tumor.
  • Traumatic brain injury or head injury.
  • Central nervous system infection.

A person with epilepsy is not contagious and cannot give epilepsy to another person.

Who Has Epilepsy?

In 2015, 1.2% of the total US population had active epilepsy.

This is about 3.4 million people people with epilepsy nationwide: 3 million adults and 470,000 children.

According to the latest estimates, about 0.6% of children aged 0-17 years have active epilepsy.1,2 Think of a school with 1,000 students—this means about 6 of them could have epilepsy.

Active epilepsy is defined as adults, participating in the 2015 NHIS, who reported a history of doctor-diagnosed epilepsy or seizure disorder and either were currently taking medication to control it, or had one or more seizures in the past year, or both.