Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes recurrent seizures. Seizures produce momentary changes in awareness, involuntary movements, or convulsions. Epilepsy is caused by different conditions that affect a person's brain. Adults with active epilepsy have been diagnosed by a
Although many people with epilepsy live full, productive lives, some face challenges including barriers to care, untreated co-occurring disorders (e.g., depression), social disadvantages (e.g., unemployment), and public misunderstanding about epilepsy or the abilities of people with epilepsy. These and other challenges can contribute to health disparities in people with epilepsy.
To estimate epilepsy prevalence among adults 18 years or older, CDC analyzed data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey, which is an annual household survey of the U.S. population. Of 27,139 sampled adults, 480 (1.8%, representing about 4.1 million adults) reported ever being told they had epilepsy or a seizure disorder. Of these, 275 adults (1%, representing about 2.3 million adults) had active epilepsy.
The 2010 data showed that adults with active epilepsy were more likely to live in households with lower annual incomes ($34,999). Only about one-half (53%) of adults with active epilepsy had seen a neurologist or epilepsy specialist in the past 12 months, suggesting that many adults with active epilepsy have not received appropriate care in the past year.