CDC: More Americans have epilepsy than in recent years

In 2015, roughly 3 million adults in the United States had active epilepsy, an increase from 2.3 million in 2010.
By Amy Wallace  |  Aug. 11, 2017 at 1:23 PM
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Aug. 11 (UPI) -- The number of American adults and children with epilepsy is on the rise, according a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Epilepsy is a brain disorder resulting in seizures that can be caused by stroke, brain tumor, head injury, central nervous disorders or genetic factors.

There are currently 3.4 million U.S. adults living with epilepsy, which is up from 3 million in 2015 and 2.3 million in 2010, according to the CDC. In 2015, there were 470,000 children who had active epilepsy, an increased from 450,000 in 2007.

"Millions of Americans are impacted by epilepsy, and unfortunately, this study shows cases are on the rise," CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, said in a news release Thursday. "Proper diagnosis is key to finding an effective treatment - and at CDC we are committed to researching, testing, and sharing strategies that will improve the lives of people with epilepsy."

Researchers believe the increase is related to population growth and varies on a state-by-state basis, depending on population size.

The CDC report shows there were 5,100 cases of active epilepsy in adults in Wyoming, compared to 367,900 in California. Among children, there were 800 cases of active epilepsy in Wyoming, compared to 59,800 in California.

The study, the CDC's first-ever state-by-state breakdown, found there were 11 states in the United States with more than 92,000 people with active epilepsy.

"Epilepsy is common, complex to live with, and costly. It can lead to early death if not appropriately treated," Rosemarie Kobau, head of CDC's Epilepsy Program, said. "Everyone should know how to recognize a seizure and how to give appropriate first aid."

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