Landover, Maryland - There are more people living with epilepsy in the United States than ever before, according to the new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At least 3.4 million people in the U.S. live with seizures, including 470,000 children. The Epilepsy Foundation, working closely with the CDC, is dedicated to helping people overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy.
“These numbers show a substantial growth from previous data. One of the biggest challenges with epilepsy is that it is frequently under diagnosed and under recognized, in part because it is associated with many co-occurring conditions,” said Jacqueline French MD, chief scientific officer, Epilepsy Foundation. “This report also highlights the need for expanded, reliable surveillance efforts of epilepsy and seizure disorders.”
People living with epilepsy face higher frequency of depression and other mood disorders, social isolation, challenges in school and with living independently, higher unemployment, limitations on driving, and higher risk of early death. In addition, adults and children with seizures are more likely to live in poverty, and more likely to be insured under Medicaid.
“This report confirms what many in our community have suspected: Epilepsy has been under-reported. We are very grateful that we have a public health program at the CDC for epilepsy. Their new data strengthens our resolve,” said Philip Gattone, president and CEO, Epilepsy Foundation. “We fight every day to improve the lives of millions of people who have epilepsy. Seizures diminish and steal lives. We won’t rest until this ends.”
To help individuals and families, the Epilepsy Foundation
- provides support in local communities and through a 24/7 helpline
- educates people living with epilepsy and their caregivers about treatment options, seizure management, and healthy living
- raises public awareness to increase understanding of seizures and dispel myths
- trains school nurses, school staff, law enforcement, first responders, child care providers, and older adult caregivers about seizure recognition and first aid
- invests in innovative research, the development of new scientists, and acceleration of new therapies to market
- fights discrimination and advocates for policies that increase access to care
- delivers expert information and connects people digitally through the top consumer website about epilepsy and seizures in the world, epilepsy.com
The public can help the millions of people living with epilepsy by learning basic seizure first aid at epilepsy.com/firstaid. People with seizures and their health care providers are encouraged to explore all options to achieve the best possible seizure control. Reach out to a local Epilepsy Foundation (epilepsy.com/localsupport) or call 800-332-1000 for assistance.
When a person has two unprovoked seizures or one unprovoked seizure with the likelihood of more, they are considered to have epilepsy. Epilepsy affects 3.4 million people in the U.S. and 65 million worldwide. This year, another 150,000 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy. Despite all available treatments, 4 out of 10 people with epilepsy continue to experience uncontrolled seizures while many more experience less than optimal seizure control.
About the Epilepsy Foundation
The Epilepsy Foundation, a national non-profit with nearly 50 local organizations throughout the U.S., has led the fight against seizures since 1968. The Foundation is an unwavering ally for individuals and families impacted by epilepsy and seizures. 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. The Foundation works to ensure that people with seizures have the opportunity to live their lives to their fullest potential. For additional information, please visit epilepsy.com.