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Approximately 1 in 26 People in the United States Will Develop Epilepsy at Some Point in their Lifetime

Epilepsy is a chronic condition of the brain that affects people all over the world. It is characterized by recurring seizures-- which are physical reactions to sudden, brief, excessive electrical discharges in brain cells. Anyone, anywhere, at any time can have a seizure.

The physical reactions of a seizure depend on which part and how much of the brain is impacted by the excessive electrical discharges. Although most people think of a seizure as a full-body convulsion, seizures can also be brief muscle jerks or unconscious behaviors like picking at clothing or what appears to be a lapse of attention, like daydreaming.

The frequency of seizures varies greatly, from once in a while to several per day.

More people live with epilepsy than with autism spectrum disorders, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy – combined.

Epilepsy is one of the world's oldest known medical conditions, and yet too many people do not understand it. In too many cases, this misunderstanding has led to fear, discrimination and social isolation.

Together, we can reduce the fear and misunderstanding, so the lives of millions of people around the world -- people living with the condition and their loved ones -- will be forever changed for the better.

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How can you help?

Here are some key numbers (in Tweet-size bites) to talk about it!

  • 65 MILLION: Number of people around the world who have epilepsy.
  • 3 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.

Resources for...


Jesse, Disc Jockey

Jesse enjoys listening to music and connecting with others who have an equal love for music. He is a disc jockey for various events and local clubs. Jesse is one; he developed epilepsy at age 8 as a result of a virus. Jesse has been able to manage his seizures with medication. He continues to educate his peers about epilepsy, emphasizing that people with epilepsy like him, lead full and productive lives.

Kimberly, Associate Professor

Kimberly is an associate professor at the local university where she teaches her favorite subject – political science—and recently published a new article. She has the support of her husband, who shares her love of fitness and trying new foods. Kimberly is one; she had her first seizure in class in middle school. She knows firsthand the fear and misunderstanding that comes with being one. She works hard to open her students to new ideas and she never stops showing people how to live with epilepsy.

Anna, Marketing Executive

Anna recently graduated from a four year university and is a marketing executive for a local firm. She works hard every day with clients and consumers. Anna is one; she suffered her first seizure as an infant. Anna's mother also experienced seizures as a child, which helps her understand Anna's struggle with epilepsy. Anna takes her medication everyday and has not had a seizure in over 18 months. She supports her local Epilepsy Foundation by facilitating support groups to engage others diagnosed with epilepsy.

Clara, Fashion Designer

Clara utilizes her expertise as a fashion event planner to host several events. Clara is one; she developed epilepsy 4 years ago from an unknown cause. Since her diagnosis, she has educated herself about her seizures and what she can do to live well with epilepsy. While Clara is trying to get her seizures under control with medication, she and her doctor are discussing other treatment options that may work for her. Clara accesses information, resources and support through her local Epilepsy Foundation.

Christian, Fireman

Christian is passionate about his career as a firefighter and works hard every day to make sure people are safe and out of harm's way. Christian is one; he developed epilepsy while serving in the military. Post Traumatic Epilepsy is a seizure disorder caused by Traumatic Brain Injury. Christian does not let his epilepsy define him; he participates in various community organizations and volunteers at local fire stations teaching his peers how to recognize and respond to seizures.