SOURCE: The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida

The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida

November 04, 2009 08:22 ET

Epilepsy Is Widespread and Often Devastating

November Is Epilepsy Awareness Month

WEST PALM BEACH, FL--(Marketwire - November 4, 2009) - Each year, some 50,000 Americans die from seizures and related causes, triggering more deaths annually than breast cancer. The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida (EFOF) is working to educate the public about this condition during November, Epilepsy Awareness Month.

With 360,000 Floridians and three million Americans suffering from epilepsy, it is the third most common neurological disorder in the US after Alzheimer's and stroke. About as many people have epilepsy as have cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease -- combined.

Karen Basha Egozi, chief executive officer of the EFOF, notes, "While living with epilepsy and seizure disorders is difficult in so many ways, it is often the stigma and misunderstandings surrounding epilepsy that most hinder our communities' efforts to recognize and come to grips with this widespread and devastating disorder."

During November, EFOF is holding a series of events aimed at educating Floridians about this neurological condition, while also raising funds to benefit those living with epilepsy.

"Epilepsy is not a disease, it is a symptom of an underlying neurological disorder and often can be controlled given proper medical care and medication," said Egozi. "Unfortunately, people die each year from epilepsy and, in many cases, these deaths could have been prevented."

"Too often, epilepsy remains a private burden. People are uncomfortable with epilepsy or do not understand it and therefore epilepsy doesn't generate as much public discussion and support as other equally dangerous but less prevalent conditions," says Patricia Dean, ARNP, President of the EFOF Board of Directors.

According to the EFOF, there is qualitative evidence that suggests Floridians suffer from epilepsy in greater numbers than other Americans. This is attributable to several factors. Epilepsy is most prevalent among youth and seniors, both of which are large segments of Florida's population. Epilepsy can develop as a result of head trauma, more frequent in Florida given the state's outdoor and active year-round lifestyle. Further, Florida is home to 11 military bases and there is an alarming rise in epilepsy due to head traumas incurred by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Established in 1971 as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3), EFOF serves as the lead advocate for the rights and needs of people with epilepsy and seizure disorders at the local, county and state level. EFOF provides valuable services, regardless of financial situation, to individuals and their families including advocacy, case management, information, referral, support, medical services, neuropsychological services, prevention and education, individual and family counseling, research, resource materials, support groups, and children's camp.

For more information, visit or call 800-940-6515.

Note to Media: Families with very compelling stories about their struggles with epilepsy are available for interviews.

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