According to the US Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 637,000 African Americans have been told that they have epilepsy or a seizure disorder.
Over 20,000 African Americans are diagnosed with seizures each year.
Studies in 2005 and 2010 found that African Americans were 60% less likely to receive surgery for temporal lobe epilepsy compared to Caucasians.
Challenges Faced for African Americans with Epilepsy
African Americans are:
- More likely to be diagnosed with epilepsy in an Emergency Room
- More likely to develop epilepsy over a lifetime
- More likely to experience status epilepticus (a medical emergency in which a seizure continues for longer than 5 minutes or multiple seizures cluster together)
- At an increased risk for Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP)
- Every year, about 1 in 1,000 adults and 1 in 4,500 children with epilepsy die of SUDEP
- According to a 2017 article by Greenlund, in 2014, SUDEP related deaths were more likely to occur in African Americans (1.42 deaths per 100,000) compared to Caucasians (0.86 deaths per 100.000)
- Less likely to experience seizure control or complete seizure control
- Less likely to be recruited into clinical trials for patients with epilepsy