Prognosis

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A person’s prognosis depends entirely on the type of epilepsy they have and the seizures it causes.

Up to 70 percent of peopleTrusted Source will respond positively to the first antiepileptic drug prescribed to them. Others may require additional assistance finding a medicine that’s most effective.

After being seizure-free for about two years, 68 percent of people will discontinue medication. After three years 75 percent of people will stop their medication.

Risk of recurrent seizures after the first ranges broadly from 27 to 71 percentTrusted Source.

Worldwide facts

According to Epilepsy Action Australia, 65 million people worldwide have epilepsy. Almost 80 percent of these people live in developing nations.

Epilepsy can be successfully treated, but more than 75 percent of people living in developing nations don’t receive the treatment they need for their seizures.

Prevention

Epilepsy doesn’t have a cure and it can’t be wholly prevented. However, you can take certain precautions, which include:

  • Protecting your head against injury. Accidents, falls, and injuries to the head may cause epilepsy. Wear protective headgear when you’re bicycling, skiing, or engaging in any event that puts you at risk for a head injury.
  • Buckling up. Children should travel in appropriate car seats for their age and size. Every person in the car should wear a seat belt to avoid head injuries that are linked to epilepsy.
  • Guarding against prenatal injury. Taking good care of yourself while you’re pregnant helps protect your baby against certain health conditions, including epilepsy.
  • Getting vaccinated. Childhood vaccinations can guard against diseases that might lead to epilepsy.
  • Maintaining your cardiovascular health. Managing high blood pressure and other symptoms of heart disease can help stave off epilepsy as you age.

Each year, Americans spend more than $15.5 billionTrusted Source caring for and treating epilepsy.

Direct care costs per patient can range from $10,192 to $47,862 annuallyTrusted Source. Epilepsy-specific costs per year can cost upwards of $20,000.

Other surprising facts or information

Having a seizure doesn’t mean you have epilepsy. An unprovoked seizure isn’t necessarily caused by epilepsy.

However, two or more unprovoked seizures may signal that you have epilepsy. Most treatments won’t begin until a second seizure has occurred.

Contrary to popular opinion, it’s impossible to swallow your tongue during a seizure — or at any other point in time.

The future for epilepsy treatment looks bright. Researchers believe brain stimulation may help people experience fewer seizures. Small electrodes placed into your brain can redirect electrical pulses in the brain and may reduce seizures. Likewise, modern medications, like the marijuana-derived Epidolex, are giving people new hope.

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