epidemiology

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Accurate estimates of incidence and prevalence are difficult to achieve due to difficulties faced in identifying the disease.
It is estimated that (1):  

  • around 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy out of which close to 90% of cases are seen in developing regions (2)
  • around 600,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with epilepsy and take anti epileptic drugs. This is equivalent to around 1 in 103 people (9.7 per 1,000 or 0.97 %). According to 2010 population estimates the prevalence rate in each country is as follows
    • in England -  1 in 105 people (0.95 %)
    • in Wales - 1 in 94 people (1.06 %)
    • in Scotland - 1 in 97 people (1.03%)
    • in Northern Ireland - 1 in 90 people (1.11%) (3)

The incidence of epilepsy in

  • UK is estimated to be 51 per 100,000 per year which is equivalent to around
    • 32,000 new cases diagnosed per year
    • 87 new cases each day of the year (based on 2010 population) (3)
  • United States - 44 out of 100,000 persons
  • sub-Saharan Africa  - 63 to 158 out of 100,000 persons (4)

Epilepsy may affect people of all ages. But most commonly it develops in childhood (with more than half of patients developing seizures before the age of 15). A second peak can be observed in patients who are over 60 years (almost a quarter of people with newly diagnosed epilepsy) (5)

About 70% of patients with epilepsy are successfully treated with established anti-epileptic drugs, over 50% of these patients will eventually be able to stop medication. The annual cost of epilepsy in the UK is £2 billion

 

Reference:

Last edited 08/2018 and last reviewed 05/2021

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