University of Iowa magazine article about epilepsy & SUDEP

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders…

  • 1 in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy in their lifetime.
  • 3 million Americans and 65 million people worldwide currently live with epilepsy.
  • Between 4 and 10 out of 1,000 people on earth live with active seizures at any one time.
  • Epilepsy affects more people than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s combined. Still, epilepsy receives fewer federal dollars per patient than each of these.
  • It is estimated that up to 50,000 deaths occur annually in the U.S. from prolonged seizures, Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), and other seizure-related incidents such as drowning and other accidents.
  • SUDEP accounts for 34% of all sudden deaths in children.
  • Epilepsy responds to treatment about 70% of the time, yet about three-fourths of people with epilepsy in developing countries do not get the treatment they need.
  • It is impossible for a person to swallow his tongue during a seizure. Never put anything in the mouth of someone experiencing a seizure.
  • About one-third of people with epilepsy cannot control their seizures with medicine. This is called refractory or medically intractable epilepsy.
  • In the United States, until the 1970s, it was legal to deny people with seizures access to restaurants, theaters, and other elsewhere. Meanwhile, in 1970 in the UK, a law forbidding people with epilepsy to marry was finally repealed.
  • More than 100,000 of the 2.2 million troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are expected to develop post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE).
  • 150,000: Number of new cases of epilepsy in the United States each year
  • 6 out of 10: Number of people with epilepsy where the cause is unknown.

For more information about epilepsy, please visit Epilepsy Foundation


American Epilepsy Society

Center for Disease Control

Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE)

Finding A Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures (FACES)