What is Epilepsy

What is EpilepsyWhat is Epilepsy: Epilepsy is a neurological disorder caused by unusual nerve cell activity in the brain. It is usually diagnosed after a person has had 2 or more seizures that have not been provoked by specific events such as trauma, infection, fever or other medical conditions.

Epilepsy is a disease of the brain defined by any of the following conditions:

  • At least two unprovoked (or reflex) seizures occurring greater than 24 hours apart
  • One unprovoked (or reflex) seizure and a probability of further seizures similar to the general recurrence risk (at least 60%) after two unprovoked seizures, occurring over the next 10 years

What are seizures: Seizures are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. In the healthy brain, electrical and chemical signals are fired between nerves called neurons to drive the brain’s ability to think, feel and send instructions to parts of the body, such as the muscles. Seizures occur when this electrical system in the brain malfunctions.

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Causes of Epilepsy: Causes of epilepsy may include: neurodevelopmental disorders, genetic factors, brain infection, brain tumor, head trauma and stroke. However, in more than half of epilepsy cases, doctors will not be able to identify a cause. These epilepsy cases, called idiopathic epilepsy, make up 60 to 70 percent of epilepsy cases.

  • 1 in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy in their lifetime
  • An estimated 3 million Americans and 65 million people worldwide have epilepsy
  • Each year at least 150,000 people are diagnosed with epilepsy
  • In two-thirds of patients diagnosed with epilepsy, the cause is unknown
  • Epilepsy affects more people than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s combined
  • 50,000 deaths occur each year from epilepsy related causes
  • 30% or 900,000 in the US continue to have seizures in spite of all therapeutic treatment options

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