Health by the Numbers: Epilepsy

Epilepsy, a chronic neurological disorder, produces seizures that can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Individuals with this medical condition can experience symptoms that range from convulsions to blank staring to jerking movements in the arms and legs.

In some cases, epilepsy goes into remission. In fact, many people with epilepsy go for longer than five years without a seizure, and three quarters of the individuals who are seizure-free on medication for a period of two to five years can successfully stop taking the medication.

Those with the condition can seek treatment from family physicians, internists, and neurologists. A wide range of treatments, from drugs to surgery, is available to treat epilepsy. Knowing as much as possible about the condition can help patients manage their condition better.

Here's a look at epilepsy by the numbers:

  • 3 million: Number of Americans living with epilepsy and seizures, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.
  • 200,000: Estimated number of new cases of epilepsy and seizure disorders diagnosed in the U.S. each year.
  • 2 or more: Number of seizures required before a person is considered to have epilepsy.
  • 70: Percentage of those diagnosed with epilepsy whose seizures can be controlled with medications and surgery, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
  • 17.6 billion: The annual cost, in dollars, of treating epilepsy.
  • 45,000: Number of children under age 15 who develop epilepsy every year.
  • 10: Percentage of people who will have a seizure at some point in their lives.
  • 70: Percentage of people with epilepsy who are seizure-free on medication for two to five years and can be successfully withdrawn from medication.
  • 70: Percentage of people with epilepsy for whom no cause can be found (for the rest, causes include head injuries, lack of oxygen during birth, brain tumors, genetic conditions, and more).
  • 2: Number of miles of the walk route of the 2012 National Walk for Epilepsy in Washington, DC.
  • 5 million: Number of dollars that have been raised in the past five years by the National Walk for Epilepsy.




Epilepsy Foundation
What is Epilepsy

Epilepsy Foundation
Incidence and Prevalence

Epilepsy Foundation
Frequently Asked Questions

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
NINDS Epilepsy Information Page