Epilepsy is a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. It’s also called a seizure disorder. When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy. A seizure happens when a brief, strong surge of electrical activity affects part or all of the brain. One in 10 adults will have a seizure sometime during their life.
Seizures can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. They can have many symptoms, from convulsions and loss of consciousness to some that are not always recognized as seizures by the person experiencing them or by health care professionals: blank staring, lip smacking, or jerking movements of arms and legs.
Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the U.S. after migraine, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease. Its prevalence is greater than autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease combined. Despite how common it is and major advances in diagnosis and treatment, epilepsy is among the least understood of major chronic medical conditions, even though one in three adults knows someone with the disorder.
About the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago:
The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago is an Illinois not-for-profit organization serving 43 counties, offering counseling, advocacy and educational services to people with epilepsy, their families, and the communities in which they live.
The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago leads the fight to stop seizures, find a cure and overcome challenges created by epilepsy.
65 MILLION: Number of people around the world who have epilepsy.
NEARLY 3 MILLION: Number of people in the United States who have epilepsy.
1 IN 26: Number of people in the United States that will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime.
OVER 130,000: Number of people in the Chicagoland area that have epilepsy.
BETWEEN 4 AND 10 OUT OF 1,000: Number of people on earth who live with active seizures at any one time.
150,000: Number of new cases of epilepsy in the United States every year.
ONE-THIRD: Number of people with epilepsy who live with uncontrollable seizures because no available treatment works for them.
6 OUT OF 10: Number of people with epilepsy where the cause is unknown.
50,000: Number of people who die from epilepsy-related causes in the United States every year.