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Updated on February 8, 2024

Epilepsy Statistics

Fact Checked

Key takeaways

  • Epilepsy is one of the most-common brain-related diseases in the world.
  • Epilepsy affects more than 50 million people globally (WHO)
  • About 80% of people with epilepsy live in low-income countries (WHO).
  • Individuals aged 65 and above have the highest incidence of epilepsy, constituting nearly a quarter of new onset cases (Better Health Channel).
  • The occurrence of epilepsy in children is more common in the first year of life and starts to decline after 10 years (Neuroepidemiology).
  • Epilepsy is more common in men than in females (International Review of Neurobiology).
  • Epilepsy is more common in young children and older adults (CDC)

Epilepsy, a neurological disorder marked by recurrent and unpredictable seizures due to abnormal brain activity, affects approximately 50 million people globally, as reported by the World Health Organization.

Causes of epilepsy

  1. Genetic Factors
  2. Brain Injury
  3. Infections
  4. Structural Abnormalities
  5. Stroke
  6. Neurodegenerative Disorders
  7. Metabolic Disorders
  8. Substance Withdrawal
  9. Autoimmune Disorders
  10. Perinatal Injury
  11. Febrile Seizures
  12. Developmental Disorders

How many people have epilepsy in 2023?

About 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, making it one of the most common brain-related diseases. Most of the people with epilepsy, about 80%, live in countries with lower incomes. With the right diagnosis and treatment, up to 70% of those with epilepsy can live without experiencing seizures.

Epilepsy statistics by age

Epilepsy typically starts either during childhood or in older adulthood, but it can begin at any age. Statistics show that Individuals aged 65 and above have the highest incidence of epilepsy, constituting nearly a quarter of new onset cases.

Research shows that the occurrence of epilepsy in children is most frequent during the first year of life and gradually decreases, reaching levels similar to those in adults by the age of 10. As children grow and their neurological systems mature, the incidence of epilepsy tends to decrease, contributing to a shift toward adult-level prevalence by the age of 10.

Epilepsy statistics by gender

Epilepsy shows a slightly more common in males compared to females, a trend attributed in part to the increased risk exposure of males to causes of lesional epilepsy. Factors such as traumatic brain injuries, infections, and certain genetic predispositions that contribute to lesional epilepsy might be more prevalent or impactful in males.

Frequently asked questions

Who is more at risk of developing epilepsy?

Research shows that Epilepsy is more common in young children and older adults. This may be due to the developing nature of the brain in children or the decline in cognitive function in seniors.

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Sources

McHugh, J. C., & Delanty, N. (2007). Chapter 2 Epidemiology and Classification of Epilepsy: Gender Comparisons. International Review of Neurobiology, 83, 11-26. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0074-7742(08)00002-0

Epilepsy (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/factsheets/epilepsy.htm#:~:text=Examples%20include%20stroke%2C%20head%20injury,more%20common%20in%20these%20groups. Accessed 1/11/2024

Ettore Beghi; The Epidemiology of Epilepsy. Neuroepidemiology 17 March 2020; 54 (2): 185–191. https://doi.org/10.1159/000503831

Epilepsy (WHO). https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/epilepsy#:~:text=Around%2050%20million%20people%20worldwide%20have%20epilepsy%2C%20making%20it%20one,most%20common%20neurological%20diseases%20globally. Accessed 1/11/2024

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