There are approximately 50 million people around the world living with epilepsy.
It’s estimated that 1 in 100 people have epilepsy
There are more than 300,000 Canadians living with epilepsy.
There are approximately 2.2 million Americans living with epilepsy.
Epilepsy is NOT contagious. Epilepsy is NOT a disease. Epilepsy is NOT a psychological disorder.
There is currently no “cure” for epilepsy. However, for 10-15% of people with epilepsy, the surgical removal of the seizure focus – the part of brain where the person’s seizures start – can eliminate all seizure activity. For more than half of people with epilepsy, medication will control their seizures. Additionally, some children will outgrow their epilepsy and some adults may have a spontaneous remission.
Not everyone can identify specific events or circumstances that affect seizures, but some are able to recognize definite seizure triggers. Some common triggers include:
- Forgetting to take prescribed seizure medication
- Lack of sleep
- Missing meals
- Stress, excitement, emotional upset
- Menstrual cycle / hormonal changes
- Illness or fever
- Low seizure medication levels
- Medications other than prescribed seizure medication
- Flickering lights of computers, television, videos, etc., and sometimes even bright sunlight
- Street drugs
First-Aid for Seizures is Simple
*First Aid Chart courtesy of Edmonton Epilepsy Association
Famous People with Epilepsy
Throughout history, many famous people are known or are suspected of having had epilepsy. These include:
Alexander the Great
Joan of Arc
Vincent Van Gogh
And more recently:
Actor Margaux Hemingway (1955-1996)
Actor Danny Glover
Singer-songwriter Neil Young
Adam Horovitz of the music group Beastie Boys
Mike Skinner from band The Streets
American Olympian Florence Griffith-Joyner, aka Flo Jo (1959-1998)
American Football guard Alan Faneca (New York Jets)
American Football cornerback Samari Rolle (Baltimore Ravens)
2006 U.S. Olympic Women’s Hockey Team goalie Chanda Gunn
For a longer list of famous people affected by epilepsy, visit Wikipedia.