Epilepsy - Description






The medical profession now recognizes about twenty different kinds of epilepsy. These forms of the disorder vary on the basis of severity and the parts of the body affected by the seizure. Most patients have only one form of epilepsy. About 30 percent have two or more forms of the disorder.

Experts estimate that about 2 percent of the general population has some form of epilepsy. One in ten Americans experience at least one epileptic seizure at some time in their lives. At least 200,000 Americans have at least one seizure a month.

About 125,000 new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed in the United States each year. About a quarter of those cases are diagnosed in children younger than five years old.

The two most common types of epilepsy are called tonic-clonic seizures and absence seizures. At one time, these forms of the disorder were better known as grand mal ("great illness") and petit mal ("small illness"). About 90 percent of people with epilepsy experience tonic-clonic seizures, and 25 percent experience absence seizures. Less than 20 percent of patients experience other forms of epilepsy alone or in various combinations.

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