How Many People Have Epilepsy

In general, A chronic condition like epilepsy is a neurological disorder that can occur in people of all ages. There can be several factors responsible for causing this disorder. The primary reason for epilepsy is damaged nerve cells (neurons) of the brain. This condition results due to the abnormal action of neurons, which causes a surge of electrical signals in the brain, thereby affecting speech, behavior, thinking, movement, and other bodily functions.     

Epilepsy stems from neurological dysfunction, which causes spikes in electrical activity in the brain which can be indicated through the symptoms. 

Symptoms such as:

  • Stiffness in the muscles
  • Being in a state of confusion temporarily
  • Moreover, Blank stare or staring into space
  • Uncontrolled jerking of muscles in the arms or legs
  • Repetitive movements
  • Dizziness

Moreover, These symptoms can affect every individual in different ways. The seizures can make an individual shake unusually, experience loss of consciousness, suddenly collapse or stare into space blankly.    

According to the data available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, a study conducted in the year 2015 revealed that about 1.2% of the total US population has active epilepsy. Which is equivalent to 3.4 million individuals with epileptic disorder. Moreover, The study further revealed that out of 3.4 million, the total number of children who had epilepsy is around 470,000. Hence, 3 million adults along with 470,000 children had active epilepsy at the time of research.    

How common is epilepsy?

As per the data provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), around 50 million individuals worldwide have epilepsy. According to this estimate, epilepsy can be considered one of the most common neurological disorders globally. Moreover, The data reveals that nearly 80% of those diagnosed with epilepsy come from low and middle-income countries. People in low-income countries cannot afford the treatment, which is why they are subject to societal stigma and discrimination.   

What happens in epilepsy?  

The individual with this disorder starts having a surge of electrical signals in the brain unusually. This happens when the nerve cells of the brain get damaged and as a result, they function abnormally. Moreover, They disturb the function of healthy nerve cells in the surrounding. An impulse in the electrical signal in one area can impact the other cells, which can give rise to persistent seizure attacks, making such individuals exhibit abrupt changes in their emotions, behavior, and awareness. They might not even realize any bodily sensation and develop stiffness in their muscles due to repeated seizures.

Individuals susceptible to epilepsy

The primary cause of epilepsy is damage to brain cells, which can occur owing to several factors that are listed below:

  • A traumatic injury

A sudden jolt or an impactful blow on the head can lead to the damage of nerve cells by causing a serious head injury. Accidental injury can lead to severe bruising, internal bleeding in the brain, and bleeding between the skull and the brain. Which can cause damage to the nerve cells and the chemical environment around the cells also changes after the injury. It can also lead to scar formation in the brain tissue. The more serious the injury, the more the individual is likely to experience epilepsy disorder.

  • Genetic reasons

Individuals that have epilepsy disorder run in their family are highly likely to develop the disorder at some point. Moreover, Genetic predisposition plays a major part in leading to this disorder. A defective gene pattern can be inherited by the offspring, which increases its chances epilepsy.

  • Brain tumors

A tumor is formed when the cells in the brain undergo mutation. Which makes them grow and multiply at a rapid pace. They keep growing abnormally, and in turn, form a cluster of dead cells that solidifies into the tumor. This tumor thus formed, affects the function of the surrounding parts of the brain. It can block the flow of blood to several parts of the brain, and contribute to seizure disorders.

  • Brain diseases

Disorders like dementia, Alzheimer’s, brain cancer, Parkinson’s, Stroke, and Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) can have a significant impact on your brain function. Individuals diagnosed with these diseases are more prone to seizure disorders.

  • Viral infections

Moreover, Your central nervous system (CNS) controls all the functions of your body, from thinking, emotions, breathing, heart heart, and hormones, to body temperature. Any damage to your central nervous system can lead to the malfunction of the body’s operations. Some viruses, parasites, and bacteria can attack the CNS, and cause neurological disorders.  

Diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy   

In general, Epilepsy is quite common in low-and middle-income countries. The treatment for such a condition is not accessible to all, as only a few individuals can afford it. Its diagnosis involves several tests such as Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, Computerized Tomography (CT) scans, Positron emission tomography (PET), Electroencephalogram (ECG) tests, and blood tests. Once the test reports are obtained, the doctor will start the treatment by prescribing the individual with anti-epilepsy drugs and other treatments based on the severity.   

The lowdown

A condition like epilepsy is a common type of neurological disorder. Which has affected around 50 million people worldwide. In the US alone, the count is 3.4 million, out of which 3 million are adults whereas 470,000 represents the number of children affected with this disorder.   

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