Facts

  • More Americans, young and old alike, suffer from epilepsy than Americans with Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy ... combined.
  • Epilepsy, from the Greek word meaning “to seize,” is a neurological disorder that affects more than 2.5 million Americans.
  • Epilepsy is not a disease, a form of mental illness, or a sign of low intelligence. It is not contagious.
  • Epilepsy can affect anyone, at any age, at any time. Often seizures first develop during the pre-school and elementary school years.
  • Usually, a seizure lasts between a few seconds and a few minutes.
  • Never place an object in the mouth of a person having a seizure.
  • Many people with epilepsy can achieve control of the seizures.
  • In 70% of cases, the cause of epilepsy is unknown. Head trauma, infections or a neurological disorder can be involved. Sometimes, heredity also plays a role.
  • Epilepsy usually can be treated effectively, most often with medications and sometimes with special diets or surgery.
  • People having seizures cannot swallow their tongues.
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