Epilepsy is a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. It’s also called a seizure disorder. When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy.
A seizure happens when a brief, strong surge of electrical activity affects part or all of the brain. One in 10 adults will have a seizure sometime during their life.
Seizures can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. They can have many symptoms, from convulsions and loss of consciousness to some that are not always recognized as seizures by the person experiencing them or by health care professionals: blank staring, lip smacking, or jerking movements of arms and legs.
Epilepsy and African Americans
African Americans are learning more about epilepsy- a disease that many in the community are especially prone to developing. Epilepsy affects 350,000 African Americans, and one in 10 people in the U.S. will experience a seizure in his or her lifetime. The disease has a number of causes-including head injuries-and affects people of all ages and walks of life. The Epilepsy Foundation says the best way to deal with epilepsy is to better understand it, yet a number of myths and stigmas still surround the condition. For instance, despite the fact that 24,000 African Americans will be diagnosed with epilepsy this year, a recent survey found children with the disease are more likely to be picked on or bullied at school. To learn more, check out the Epilepsy Myths and Facts!
- Epilepsy and seizures affect almost 3 million Americans of all ages, at an estimated annual cost of $15.5 billion in direct and indirect costs.
- Approximately 200,000 new cases of seizures and epilepsy occur each year.
- Ten percent of the American population will experience a seizure in their lifetime.
- Three percent will develop epilepsy by age 75.