At least 3.4 MILLION Americans have epilepsy

The CDC's first ever report on the disorder reveals the rate of epilepsy cases in both adults and children increased by almost a million between 2010 and 2015, with upticks seen nationwide.

The number of Americans with epilepsy has rocketed to more than 3.4 million, new figures reveal.

In 2010, fewer than 2.5 million people had the neurological disorder, which triggers recurring seizures that can greatly impair quality of life and cause an early death.  

But the CDC's first ever report on the disorder reveals that rate had increased by almost a million by 2015, with upticks seen nationwide.

While experts say this could largely be down to population growth, they warn it places increasing pressure on the healthcare system, and shows an urgent need for programs to help integrate people with neurological disorders into society. 

Among five chronic conditions in children and adolescents, epilepsy is the costliest and the second most common.

Children with seizures are also more likely to live in poverty, and their parents more frequently report food insecurity.

The new CDC data is the first comprehensive study on epilepsy data since 1990

The new CDC data is the first comprehensive study on epilepsy data since 1990

Epilepsy has only been assessed intermittently in national population studies.

Before 2010, the last national estimate of the rate of epilepsy was based on 1986–1990 data.

That estimate was based on only one question: how many seizures of blackouts occurred in any household family members. 

While other groups attempted to fill the data gap, they were limited by region or lacking clinical samples.

The new study reveals that in 2015, about 3 million US adults and 470,000 children had active epilepsy (under treatment or with recent seizures).

The number of adults with active epilepsy rose from 2.3 million in 2010 to 3 million in 2015. 

The number of children with the condition increased from 450,000 in 2007 to 470,000 in 2015. 

That increase is costly. 

Direct yearly health care costs per person with epilepsy ranged from $10,192 to $47,862. For people with the most severe uncontrolled seizures, the costs were much higher. 

'Groups interested in reducing epilepsy prevalence need updated estimates of the numbers of persons living with epilepsy nationally and within their states,' the authors wrote. 

'This study aims to provide updated national and modeled state-specific estimates of active epilepsy prevalence based on the latest data available to provide information for public health action to reduce epilepsy burden.'