By the Midland Daily News
Epilepsy is the general term for a variety of neurological conditions characterized by recurrent unprovoked seizures. A seizure is a brief disturbance in the electrical activity of the brain that causes temporary changes in movement, awareness, feelings, behavior, or other bodily functions, said Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan President Arlene Gorelick.
Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the United States after migraine, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease. About one percent of Americans have some form of epilepsy, and nearly four percent (1 in 26) will develop epilepsy at some point in their lives, Gorelick said. The number of Americans who have epilepsy is greater than the number who have multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and cerebral palsy combined. 10 percent of Americans will have at least one seizure at some point in their lives
In about 60 percent of epilepsy cases, there is no known cause. Among the remaining 40 percent, the following causes are most frequent: traumatic brain injury, brain tumor, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, poisoning (e.g. lead poisoning, alcohol or drug abuse, etc.), infection (e.g. meningitis, encephalitis, and others), prenatal or birth trauma, and developmental or congenital disabilities. Genetic factors also play a role in some types of epilepsy, but researchers say there is still a great deal to learn about this.
Anyone can develop epilepsy at any time. Incidence is highest among the very young and the very old.
Epilepsy is prevalent among other disability groups such as autism (25.5 percent), cerebral palsy (13 percent), Down syndrome (13.6 percent), and intellectual disability (25.5 percent). For people with both cerebral palsy and intellectual disability the prevalence of epilepsy is 40 percent.
Thanks to Arlene Gorelick and the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan for summarizing the information; the Midland Daily News for reporting the information; Google for helping me find the information; and all the people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible to include the picture, text, and links in this post.