Looking At Epilepsy Statistics
To be able to understand how serious epilepsy is as an illness, it is worthwhile to look at epilepsy statistics. The Epilepsy Foundation compiles an impressive amount of data for measuring the number of cases of epilepsy around the world. To this end, there are two typical measures in epilepsy statistics that are used to quantify the growth in epileptic cases; these are incidence and prevalence.
In statistical terms, incidence refers to the number of newly reported cases of epilepsy over a fixed period typically taken as one year. Incidence in epilepsy statistics helps to ascertain the growth rate of the disease to determine if there are vectors which can correlate to the rise and fall of epilepsy cases. Where incidence remains flat, that is indicative that the triggers for epilepsy are not tied to any environmental or social vector and must therefore merit a more telling assessment from a genetic standpoint.
In the same way, prevalence is the total number of epilepsy cases within a population at any given moment in time. This can be expressed as a percentage of the total population and indicates how pervasive or “common” the disease is in a specific locale. Prevalence, in epilepsy statistics, is an excellent measure of the susceptibility of a specific collection of people to the disease which enables a more targeted analysis of the causes as to why a certain population can have a larger prevalence of epilepsy cases than others.
Out of these epilepsy statistics indicators came out with some revealing and particularly alarming numbers. In the United States alone, over 200,000 new cases of epilepsy are reported and documented each year. The disease adopts a bimodal distribution in terms of susceptibility versus age of the patient with the most cases observed in patients ages 2 and 65. Males are also more inclined to report epilepsy cases than females with a more pronounced incidence favoring African Americans and socially disadvantaged populations indicating a potential genetic or social element into the disease’s spread.
Extending into the prevalence statistic, there are around 3 million cases of epilepsy in the United States at any given time. Individuals at the age of 20 have a 1% chance of incurring epileptic episodes but at the age of 75, this risk factor balloons to 3% indicating a potential age component driven. In special populations, epileptic risks are even more pronounced with 25.8% of mentally retarded children prone to epilepsy and another 22% from stroke patients. The highest prevalence occurs in patients with combined cases of mental retardation and cerebral palsy where 50% of the population is likely to develop epilepsy.
The study of epilepsy statistics is another developing front in the fight against the growth of epilepsy. As doctors seek to uncover the metabolic and genetic triggers of epilepsy, statisticians are pitching in to uncover correlations that can hopefully point the direction of research into a more promising target.
The data compiled in many epilepsy statistics studies will eventually find its way into the hands of many medical researchers who will hopefully use it to develop a more systematic and targeted fight plan against epilepsy.