Epilepsy is a serious and common brain condition that causes repeated seizures, interrupting the brain's normal activity.
Epilepsy is a serious and common brain condition that causes repeated seizures. The seizures are like electrical storms that briefly interrupt the brain's normal activity.
The severity and frequency of seizures varies from person to person, depending on their type of epilepsy, and the area of their brain affected.
Whilst epilepsy is not usually life-threatening, around 1,000 people die every year in the UK because of their epilepsy. Around half of these deaths are 'sudden unexpected deaths in epilepsy', where someone is believed to have died during or after a seizure and no other cause of death can be found.
Whilst some people may develop epilepsy as a result of a serious brain injury, the cause is unknown in most cases.
Around 600,000 people in the UK have epilepsy - one in 100 people.
Around 87 people are diagnosed with epilepsy every day in the UK.
Epilepsy can start at any age, but is most commonly diagnosed in people under 20 or over 65 years of age.
Epilepsy is usually a long-term or lifelong condition. In most people it can be well-managed using anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), with little impact on day-to-day life.
AEDs help to prevent seizures, or reduce their frequency. They work by controlling electrical activity in the brain. They do not cure epilepsy, nor do they stop seizures whilst they are happening.
AEDs don't work for everyone with epilepsy. Other treatment options include:
Brain Research UK has invested vital funds in epilepsy research, to help understand the condition and why it occurs, improve treatments, and work towards a cure.