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Nearly 1 Million Adults ≥55 Years Have Epilepsy

Epilepsy Behav; ePub 2018 Aug 2; Sapkota, et al

Although epilepsy is common in older adults since known risk factors—such as traumatic brain injury, stroke, cerebrovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, and neoplasms—increase with age, the prevalence of a history of epilepsy and active epilepsy among adults aged 55 to 64 years was significantly higher than the prevalence in older age groups. This according to a recent study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that uses the most recent data from the 2010, 2013, and 2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to provide updated national estimates of epilepsy prevalence among US adults aged ≥55 years to help guide public health action. Researchers evaluated data from adults with self-reported doctor-diagnosed epilepsy or seizure disorder who reported either currently taking medications to treat their epilepsy or seizure disorder or at least 1 seizure during the past 12 months. Key findings included:

  • The prevalence of active epilepsy was estimated to be 1.4% (about 529,000) among US adults aged 55 to 64, 0.9% (225,000) for those aged 65 to 74, and 1.0% (178,000) for those aged ≥75 years.
  • Collectively, close to 1 million adults aged ≥55 years reported active epilepsy.


Sapkota S, Kobau R, Pastula DM, Zack MM. Close to 1 million US adults aged 55 years or older have active epilepsy—National Health Interview Survey, 2010, 2013, and 2015. [Published online ahead of print August 2, 2018]. Epilepsy Behav. doi:10.1016/j.yebeh.2018.06.030.

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