About Epilepsy

Epilepsy is what you have, not who you are.

Nobody asks to have epilepsy. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with epilepsy or a seizure disorder then you know that life can be different for people who do. It doesn’t have to be that way. The Epilepsy Foundation of Alabama can help you to learn how to manage your seizures, regain your confidence and begin enjoying life again.

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy iEF_Alabamas a neurological condition that causes a tendency for recurrent seizures. Seizures are symptoms of an underlying dysfunction in the brain. These symptoms can take many different forms ranging from a convulsion in which the person loses consciousness, stiffens, and begins to shake in the extremities to a brief starring spell during which the person is not aware of what is happening. The part of the brain affected determines how the symptoms of a seizure will appear.

AboutEpilepsy1Epilepsy affects approximately 3 million people in the United States with approximately 200,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. One in ten people will have a seizure at some point in their life. It is the most common neurological condition in children and second only to stroke in adults.


A few facts about epilepsy.

    • Epilepsy affects an estimated 2.3 million people in the United States
    • One in twenty-six children and one in one hundred adults have epilepsy
    • Approximately 300,000 people in the US have a first convulsion each year
    • Any one of us, at any age, at any time can develop epilepsy
    • Older adults account for approximately 25% of new cases of epilepsy each year
    • One in ten persons will have a seizure in their lifetime
    • There are many different types of seizures, ranging from brief lapses of consciousness to full convulsions
    • Approximately 60% of persons with epilepsy respond to the first medicine, 15% to the second medicine
    • About 25% of persons whose seizures remain uncontrolled
    • Seizures have many different causes, head trauma, infection, stroke, congenital brain problems, heredity, to name just a few
    • In 60-70% of the cases of seizures, the cause is not known
    • While medicine is the most common treatment, seizure surgery may be an option
    • One of the biggest problems for people with epilepsy is the public’s lack of understanding about their disorder
    • Most people with epilepsy lead normal lives, have jobs, get married and have children
    • Famous people with epilepsy—Julius Caesar, Van Gogh, Charles Dickens, Harriet Tubman, Alexander the Great, Alfred Nobel

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