With 50 million people from around the world being diagnosed with epilepsy, we wanted to share some common facts about the condition so that you can support those who may be in need.
10 Facts About Epilepsy
1. Did you know there are over 60 different types of seizures? It is also pretty common for a person to have more than one type of seizure in their lifetime. Seizures vary depending on where the activity started in the brain. The location of this activity will determine the severity of the seizure and whether a person is aware throughout the seizure activity or altogether unconscious.
2. While it is commonly known that 1 in 220 children are diagnosed with epilepsy annually, a more surprising statistic is that 1 in 4 elderly people, aged 65 and over, are diagnosed with epilepsy every year.
3. Photosensitive epilepsy affects 3% of people with the condition. In this type of epilepsy, seizures are triggered by flashing lights, or occasionally some types of patterns.
4. In the UK alone, 600,000 people are living with epilepsy. That's a similar figure to people living with autism and four times higher than those living with Parkinson's.
5. The NCBI (National Center of Biotechnology) who studied a group of 126 people with epilepsy discovered that 61.5% had suffered at least one head injury during the year they were monitored.
6. A Medical helmet can protect both the face and head to prevent a person with epilepsy from an injurious fall.
7. Nearly 80% of people with epilepsy live in low- to middle-income countries with three-quarters of those who live in low-income countries do not get the treatment they receive, resulting in a chance of premature death.
8. Up to 70% of people living with epilepsy could become seizure-free with appropriate use of antiseizure medicines.
9. An estimated 25% of epilepsy cases are preventable. For example, preventing a head injury is the most effective way to prevent post-traumatic epilepsy.
10. Many years ago, people with epilepsy experienced all kinds of inequality due to their condition. For example:
- In both China and India, epilepsy is commonly viewed as a reason for prohibiting or annulling marriages.
- In the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, laws which permitted the annulment of a marriage on the grounds of epilepsy were not amended until 1971.
- In the United States of America, until the 1970s, it was legal to deny people with seizures access to restaurants, theatres, recreational centres and other public buildings.
In today's world, there are increased human rights for those who are diagnosed with epilepsy. However, the likelihood of having reduced access to educational opportunities, withholding the opportunity to obtain a driving license, or barriers to enter particular occupations, and reduced access to health and life insurance are still prevalent.
Sourced from WHO
For more information on how you can support those with epilepsy and what to do when someone has a seizure, check out our latest blog post here.