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.
How can you help?
- Get the facts about epilepsy.
- Talk about #1in26, #epilepsy and #seizures on Twitter and Facebook
- Do you have epilepsy or know someone who does? Share your story in the comments below.
Here are some key numbers (in Tweet-size bites) to talk about it!
- 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 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.