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Epilepsy is a condition that affects the brain and causes repeated seizures, also known as fits. Epilepsy affects more than 500,000 people in the UK. This means almost 1 in 100 people has the condition. Epilepsy usually begins during childhood, although it can start at any age.

Facts and Figure

Prevalence of Epilepsy

For further information regarding the source of QOF prevalence data and its limitations please see Note on QOF Data.

In 2019/20 1,750 people over the age of 18 had been identified by NHS Blackpool CCG GP practices as living with diabetes.1

NHS Blackpool CGG is shown as a purple marker in Figure 1, with all other CCGs shown in blue. Figure 1 shows that 1.24% of NHS Blackpool CCG's registered population, are recorded as living with epilepsy. This is the highest recorded prevalence of epilepsy of any CCG and significantly above the English CCG average.

Figure 1 - Epilepsy Prevalence (18+) Funnel Plot Analysis at CCG Level (2019/20 QOF)

Source: Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF)

National and local strategies (current best practices)

Risk Factors

In most cases, the condition is described as "idiopathic epilepsy", meaning that the cause of epilepsy is not fully understood. It is thought that attacks are caused by abnormalities in neurotransmitters, chemicals which regulate electrical impulses in the brain. Part of the cause may be genetic, and in some rare cases the exact gene defect is well understood.

Sometimes epilepsy is caused by a specific illness or problem relating to the brain. This kind of epilepsy is termed "symptomatic" and is commoner in older life. Examples of health problems that may cause this kind of epilepsy include:

    • Developmental problems that started in childhood
    • Head injury
    • Strokes
    • Tumours
    • Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)
    • Chronic alcohol abuse2

[1] National General Practice Profiles

[2] http://www.scotpho.org.uk/health-wellbeing-and-disease/epilepsy/risk-factors