About Epilepsy: The Basics
The Epilepsy Foundation is your unwavering ally in the fight against epilepsy and seizures. You don't walk alone.
What Do I Need To Know About Epilepsy?
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 that 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, genetics, immune, brain structure or metabolic cause, but most of the time the cause is unknown.
"Seizures are caused by disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain."
Learn More:Learn about types of seizures.
How Many People Live With Epilepsy?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015), the number of people living with epilepsy in the United States is an an all-time high.
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 existing medications do not work for them.
- 6 OUT OF 10: Number of people with epilepsy where the cause is unknown.
Learn More:Read a summary of their report.
Epilepsy centers provide you with a team of specialists to help you diagnose your epilepsy and explore treatment options.
Find in-depth information on anti-seizure medications so you know what to ask your doctor.
Epilepsy and Seizures 24/7 Helpline
Call our Epilepsy and Seizures 24/7 Helpline and talk with an epilepsy information specialist or submit a question online.
Tools & Forms
Download our seizure tracking app, print out seizure action plans, or explore other educational materials.