November 10, 2016 Medical Conditions

Epilepsy: More Common Than You Think

One in 26. 45,000 people. 160,000 new cases. Your colleague. Your neighbor. Your friend. Your sibling. Your parent. Your spouse. Your child. You.

You may be surprised to learn that one in 26 people will develop epilepsy during their lifetime. In northeastern New York alone, more than 45,000 people are living with epilepsy. And annually, more than 160,000 new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed in the United States.

These statistics often shock people who are unfamiliar with epilepsy. It is far more common than you think. In fact, epilepsy affects more people than muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and Parkinson’s COMBINED.

Chances are, someone in your life has been or will be affected by epilepsy.

Along with the talented and experienced neurologists and physicians in our region, the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York is an invaluable resource for those living with epilepsy and their family members and caregivers. If you or a loved one is affected by epilepsy, the Foundation is here for you. Take a moment to read through the services they provide and call (518) 456-7501 with any questions you may have.


Service Coordination/Case Management

The primary objective of service coordination is to work in partnership with consumers to enable them to live and participate in the community according to their personal goals, preferences, and needs. This means that the Epilepsy Foundation can assist with obtaining access to Medicaid, Medicare, and finding the best doctor, to name a few examples.

Information and Referral

The Epilepsy Foundation provides accessible, current information about epilepsy/seizure disorders to individuals, parents, family members, and friends. Their professionally trained staff is available to answer questions about epilepsy and its related concerns. They can also provide referrals to physicians, medical centers, legal counsels, and various community resources.


The chronic nature of epilepsy affects families physically, emotionally, and financially. The Epilepsy Foundation offers free counseling for those living with epilepsy and for everyone in the household. An epilepsy diagnosis can impact the entire family.

Support Groups

You are NEVER alone. The Epilepsy Foundation offers several different support groups for people with epilepsy. Engaging with others who have a deep understanding of what an epilepsy diagnosis feels like and how it impacts a person’s life promotes emotional well-being and stability. Many people have formed lifelong, supportive friendships that began in one of the Foundation’s groups.

Educational Programs

To educate and foster acceptance of those living with epilepsy, the Epilepsy Foundation offers several educational programs for children and adults. They provide professional in-service training where a staff member will educate colleagues and supervisors about epilepsy. They also offer the same education program in schools for the educators, staff, and children.

Erica DeNicola
About the Author

Erica DeNicola, MS, is a health educator at the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York. In this role, she provides in-service training on epilepsy, seizures, and seizure first aid to professionals in schools, community and service organizations, businesses, law enforcement, and any other group that would like to learn about epilepsy. She teaches students about epilepsy as well. Erica also helps organize and orchestrate awareness events and educational conferences for the foundation. She holds a master’s degree in health education from Ithaca College.

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