Stilt walking John O'Groats to Lands End

Raising Awareness about the condition of Epilepsy

Epilepsy facts, figures and terminology

Some facts about epilepsy

  • Epilepsy is the tendency to have recurrent seizures.
  • There are around 40 different types of seizure and a person may have more than one type.
  • Epilepsy can affect anyone, at any age and from any walk of life.
  • 456,000 or one in every 131 people in the UK has epilepsy.
  • Epilepsy is a neurological condition.
  • Only 52 per cent of people with epilepsy in the UK are seizure-free. It is estimated that 70 per cent could be seizure free with the right treatment.
  • One in 20 people will have a single seizure at some time in their life.
  • Many people who develop epilepsy below the age of 20 will ‘grow out of it' in adult life.
  • Many people with epilepsy are still discriminated against due to ignorance about the condition.
  • Epilepsy is covered by the Disability Discrimination Act.
  • The vast majority of people with epilepsy can take part in the same activities as everyone else, with the help of simple safety measures where appropriate.
  • People who have been seizure free for a year can re-apply for their driving licence.

Terminology to avoid

  • Illness : epilepsy is a condition, not an illness.
  • Fit : the term ‘seizure' or ‘epileptic seizure' is preferred as people with epilepsy do not always experience convulsions.
  • An epileptic : it is important to look at the person before the medical condition, therefore it is more appropriate to say ‘a person with epilepsy'.
  • A victim , sufferer (this depicts someone helpless).
  • Grand Mal or Petit Mal : terms previously used to describe types of seizure. There are many types of seizures so these terms are too general and are now considered outdated.

We are often asked about the word ' brainstorming ' and whether its use is acceptable. Our view is that it depends upon the context: if the word is being used to describe a meeting where participants are suggesting ideas, then its use is not offensive to people with epilepsy. However, it should not be used to describe a seizure or the electrical activity within the brain during a seizure.

Basic first aid for seizures


  • Protect the person from injury - (remove harmful objects from nearby)
  • Cushion their head
  • Look for an epilepsy identity card or identity jewellery
  • Aid breathing by gently placing them in the recovery position once the seizure has finished.

The recovery position

  • Be calmly reassuring
  • Stay with the person until recovery is complete
  • Restrain the person
  • Put anything in the person's mouth
  • Try to move the person unless they are in danger
  • Give the person anything to eat or drink until they are fully recovered
  • Attempt to bring them round

Call an ambulance if…

  • You know it is the person's first seizure
  • The seizure continues for more than five minutes
  • One tonic-clonic seizure follows another without the person regaining consciousness between seizures
  • The person is injured during the seizure
  • You believe the person needs urgent medical attention

Download the information on this page PDF

Tel Pete 00 44 (0) 7966 689 628 Email:

Safe and secure donations to the charity are securely given through the following link

Stilt Walking John O'Groats | Lands End

Event Entertainment | Performers Agency

© 2006 copryright Epilepsy Facts