EPILEPSY RESOURCE CONNECTION
Epilepsy is not a single disorder, but covers a wide spectrum of problems characterized by unprovoked, recurring seizures that disrupt normal neurological functions. Epileptic seizures occur when a group of nerve cells in the brain (neurons) become activated simultaneously, emitting sudden and excessive bursts of electrical energy. This hyperactivity of neurons can occur in various locations in the brain and, depending on the location, have a wide range of effects on the sufferer from brief moments of confusion to minor spasms to loss of consciousness.
Epilepsy is more common than many realize; 2.5 million Americans (2% of the population) have epilepsy. Epilepsy costs the U.S. $12.5 billion each year. It is estimated that approximately 54,000 Kansans have seizure disorders.
Epilepsy is the world’s most common and serious neurological disorder. Yet many patients suffer even more from public attitudes—social ostracism, job loss, disruption to personal relationships, & other prejudices—than from their seizures.
In 1993, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recognized epilepsy as a public health concern; the CDC called for an expansion in interventions to support people with epilepsy and their families in their communities.
Once thought of as only a childhood disease, the highest incidence of epilepsy is now found in the elderly population. Currently, 1 in 50 new cases of epilepsy are with seniors, whereas, 5 to 7 children per 1000 have epilepsy. Epilepsy is as likely to begin when a person is in their 60s, 70s and 80s, as it is during the first ten years of life. 300,000 American senior citizens have epilepsy.
Stigma remains as a major barrier to effective awareness and treatments. Limited access to care reduces quality of life for individuals with epilepsy.
Until a cure is found, advocacy is the key to making certain that every Kansan who has epilepsy has the full range of treatment options available to them.