An estimated 2.2 million Americans have epilepsy. It affects more than 300,000 under the age of 15. A large number of children and adults have undetected or untreated epilepsy.
A Worldwide Problem:
The World Health Organization estimates there are 65 million people with epilepsy throughout the world.
About 200,000 cases of seizure disorders and epilepsy are diagnosed each year.
Role of heredity:
People with first-degree relatives (parents or siblings) who have epilepsy are at increased risk of developing seizures themselves.
|Age of onset:
Epilepsy primarily affects the very young and the very old, although anyone can get epilepsy at any time. Twenty percent of cases develop before the age of five. Fifty percent develop before the age of 25. It is increasingly associated with the elderly, and there are as many cases of epilepsy in those 60 years of age and older as in children 10 years of age and under.
In about 70% of cases there is no known cause. Of the remaining 30%, the following are the most frequent causes:
|Brain tumor and/or stroke.
||Head trauma, especially from automobile accidents, gunshot wounds, sports accidents, and falls and blows. The more severe the injury, the greater the risk of developing epilepsy.
||Poisoning, such as lead poisoning, and substance abuse. For example, more than 5,000 persons each year are reported to suffer seizures caused by alcoholism.
Infection, such as meningitis, viral encephalitis, lupus erythematosus and, less frequently, mumps, measles, diphtheria and others.
||Maternal injury, infection or systemic illness that affects the developing brain of the fetus during pregnancy.
What are the different types of seizures? • Generalized Tonic Clonic also known as Grand Mal
• Absence also known as petit mal
• Complex Partial also known as psychomotor or temporal lobe
• Atonic Seizures also known as drop attacks
• Myoclonic Seizures
• Infantile Spasms
For more information on what different types of seizures look like and how to respond click here.
What are NEEs or (non-epileptic events), psychogenic seizures?
Nonepileptic seizures or events are not related to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. There is a wide range of reasons they may occur including psychological, due to other medical conditions, or because the person is trying to communicate something. However, they are real events no matter what is causing them. In order to have a good understanding of why they are occurring the individual’s medical team needs to be involved and medical evaluation is required to diagnose. There is a lot that it is unknown about the condition. It is also possible to have both epileptic and non-epileptic seizures or events.
They can also be referred to as psychogenic seizures, pseudoseizures, cryptogenic or non-epileptic attack disorder.
For more information on NEEs click here.
Sometimes news of dramatic lifesaving acts on the part of passers-by merely perpetuate the myths surrounding epilepsy first aid. Stories about people who save a life by keeping the person with epilepsy from swallowing his tongue are not only inaccurate, but also damaging. They produce a whole new set of misinformed people. Similarly, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is hardly ever needed in connection with a seizure. Breathing is naturally depressed until the seizure ends, when it usually begins again without assistance.