We’ve updated our carefully researched look at epilepsy by the numbers. This page breaks epilepsy down in a way that we hope might make epilepsy a little more personal to you.

You just might be surprised to learn how many people are living with and dying as a result of epilepsy. Updated as of November 25, 2018


1% of the world’s population

Epilepsy affects more than 1% of the world’s population. As of 2018, that is reflective of more than 70 million people worldwide. 1

3.4 Million Americans

Epilepsy and seizures affects more than 3.4 million Americans of all ages. 2

3rd Most Common

Epilepsy is the third most common neurological disorder in the US after Alzheimer’s and stroke. 3

40 Different types of Seizures

There are over 40 different types of seizures. Not all of them involve convulsions. Tricky little buggers. 4

70% have No Known Cause

There is no known cause in 70 percent of the cases diagnosed. Yep you read that right, 70 percent. 5

3X Higher Mortality Rate

The mortality rate is 2 to 3 times higher among people with epilepsy. 6  Oh yeah, and the risk of sudden death is (brace yourself) 24 times greater. 7

$15.5 Billion in Costs

According to the CDC, epilepsy accounts for about $15.5 billion in direct costs (medical) and indirect costs (lost or reduced earnings and productivity) each year. 8

SUDEP Underestimated

According to a report from UC San Francisco researchers from research done in 2016, they are now recognizing a new term, “sudden neurological death,” to describe apparent sudden cardiac deaths that actually were due to neurological causes, such as stroke, aneurysm or epilepsy, and estimate that 10,000 to 25,000 of these deaths may go undetected each year. 9

Our voice matters

A study was done in 2017 that shows where epilepsy is most prevalent in the US. However the spikes tend to correlate to where there are active epilepsy research centers and active epilepsy advocacy. See for yourself. 10


These statistics are available via the CDC, UNAID, WHO, IOM, and NINDS.


Living with Epilepsy

Below you will find a few recent stories of people living with epilepsy, and we hope you will share your own story.


1: https://www.cdc.gov/media/pdf/releases/aag-epilepsy-2017_508c.pdf

2: https://www.cdc.gov/epilepsy/about/fast-facts.htm

3: http://www.humanepilepsyproject.org/what-is-epilepsy/

4: https://www.ilae.org/guidelines/definition-and-classification/operational-classification-2017

5: https://www.aesnet.org/for_patients/facts_figures

6: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15075062

7: https://www.epilepsy.com/sites/core/files/atoms/files/SUDEP_HealthCareProviders.pdf

8: https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/aag/pdf/2016/aag-epilepsy.pdf

9: https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2016/09/404176/sudden-neurological-death-misclassified-underestimated

10: https://www.cdc.gov/epilepsy/data/index.html