The Epilepsy Foundation is your unwavering ally in the fight against epilepsy and seizures. You don't walk alone.

What is epilepsy? Will I have seizures forever?

You may have a lot of questions about epilepsy. We will help you understand the basics, answer the most common questions, and help you find resources and other information you may need. However, information alone won’t help you manage your epilepsy and find a way to cope with the effects on your daily life. You’ll need to learn how to use the information and make it work for you.

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological condition which affects the nervous system. Epilepsy is also known as a seizure disorder. It is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures (or after one seizure with a high risk for more) that were not caused by some known medical condition.

What are seizures?

Seizures seen in epilepsy are caused by disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain. The seizures in epilepsy may be related to a brain injury or a family tendency, but most of the time the cause is unknown…

Seizures are caused by disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain.

More People Living with Epilepsy in the U.S. Than Ever Before

Listen to an interview on Georgia Public Broadcasting with Rosemarie Kobau MPH of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Dr. Joe Sirven,'s editor-in-chief, about the number of people living with epilepsy in the U.S.

Facts about Epilepsy and Seizures

  • 65 MILLION: Number of people around the world who have epilepsy.
  • 3.4 MILLION: Number of people in the United States who have epilepsy.
  • 1 IN 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime.
  • 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 each 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.
You don't walk alone

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Authored By: 
Patricia O. Shafer RN, MN
Authored Date: 
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Reviewed By: 
Joseph I. Sirven, MD
Reviewed Date: 
Wednesday, March 19, 2014